Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

advice Archive



September 2018

Hope Reflected | 5 things to remember for whatever you’re going through

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"Commit thy way unto the LORD, trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5 | 5 things to remember for whatever you're going through | Read more at hopereflected.com

Commit thy way unto the Lord: 5 things to remember for whatever you’re going through

David’s advice in Psalm 37 is wisdom that we should all remember.

David, often referred to as a man after God’s own heart, led nothing short of an adventurous life. Equal parts heartache and heart-warming, the Bible gives a detailed account of David’s life from his humble beginnings as a Shepherd boy to a battle-worn King who conquered many nations.

If you’re familiar with David’s history, you know that he killed a giant named Goliath, he was chosen to be king, he was a gifted musician, he was a poet, he was a bit of a lady’s man, he had his lover’s husband killed, as a result he lost his child, he was Solomon’s father, and he conquered many nations. David lived a colourful life. He went through many things from which we can learn.

David wrote Psalm 37 near the end of his life, so you can be sure that the wisdom he shares in this Psalm come from experience. If you’re anxious or if you need encouragement, here are 5 things to remember for whatever you’re going through:

  1. Fret not. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” (Psalm 37:1) Fretting, also known as being anxious, worried, concerned, overly analytical, or upset, is something that’s common to all of us! This notion of “fret not” is so important that David mentions it not just once, not just twice, but three times in Psalm 37. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers”, “fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way”, “fret not thyself in any wise to do evil”. Notice the similarities? Usually our fretting is related to other people. David advises that we shouldn’t worry about those people who do evil, or those who are prosperous, or be envious or concerned about what other people are doing.
  2. Trust in the Lord. “Trust in the LORD, and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” (Psalm 37:3) Trusting in the Lord can be very difficult, especially when you only have enough light for where you’re standing and you can’t see the path ahead. Our faith isn’t built on something we can physically see per se. But when you purpose to put your trust in the Lord, He promises that He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6).
  3. Delight yourself in the Lord. “Delight yourself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37: 4) Delight, joy, take pleasure in the Lord. We’re promised in God’s Word that when we make Him our delight, He will give us the desires of our heart. “Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob.” (Isaiah 58:14). When you find your fulfillment in Christ, when you choose to keep your eyes on Him, when you take the time to delve into His Word, and when you make Him the centre of your life, that is delighting in the Lord.
  4. Commit it to God. “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) How often are each of us guilty of making plans for the future without first seeking the Lord? When you commit your way to God (i.e., praying in advance about big and little decisions and life choices), and when you put your trust in Him, He shall bring it to pass. Does it mean that God will always work things out exactly how you want? No! Sometimes things will not go as you expect. Sometimes you’ll feel like God’s not answering your prayers. And sometimes, when you ask for A, B, or C, God will exceed your expectations and give you the entire alphabet (as Charles Stanley says).
  5. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:7) Rest and patience. So often the two go hand in hand. We are able to rest when we learn the virtue of patience, and we are able to be patient when we resolve to rest. When you choose to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him, you can rest assured that He will act with your best interest in mind. “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord,” (Lamentations 3:26). You’ve likely heard the quote that it takes 6 months to build a Rolls Royce and only 13 hours to build a Toyota. The difference between “good” and God’s best for your life is patience.

American blues guitarist B.B. King once said that, “the beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” When David wrote Psalm 37, he had lived and learned throughout his often-challenging life. And yet, at the end of it all, David still claimed God as his buckler, his rock, and his power. You can avoid a lot of heartache by taking the advice of those who’ve gone before you, and David’s advice in Psalm 37 is wisdom that we should all remember.

Originally published as “5 things to remember for whatever you’re going through.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 5, 2018: 6. Print. Web.



August 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Be Quick to Listen

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wednesday wisdom

“God gave us mouths that close and ears that don’t; that should tell us something.”

I’ve always loved this saying. How simple and how true. We were created with mouths that close and with ears that don’t!

It reminds me of James 1:19, where we are instructed to “take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

How many conflicts would each of us avoid in life if we followed these instructions? How many relationships would be improved if we took this advice? It’s a reminder that we can all use.

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.




May 2016

3 Ways to Conquer Bad Habits

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conquer your bad habits

Galatians 5:9 says, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” and I was reminded over the weekend just how true this is. Last Fall, Wes and I did a lot of winter prep work in our garden and around the yard; we weeded, seeded, raked, and trimmed. Preparation is supposed to benefit the lawn, trees, and any perennials in the garden during the next season.

This past weekend, it seems as though every neighbour was out in his or her yard, just soaking up the warm weather. Wes and I were no exception. We took the opportunity Saturday to churn up the gardens, do some edging, and lay mulch for this year. While we were churning the earth around our trees, both of us noticed how this one weed spread and laid roots during the winter! We’re pretty sure it’s some sort of common knotweed, and it sure grows aggressively. Even after all our work to pull up the roots last Fall, it somehow managed to breed and grow throughout the Winter.

I say all this because, as we were pulling up any leftover (or new) weeds over the weekend, I thought to my self how important it is when you’re pulling weeds to make sure you pull the whole root – you can’t leave any of the root behind, or it will just start growing again. How similar that is to our own behaviours and habits – when we’re trying to make positive life changes, we have to get rid of all the negative, and make sure any bad habits are completely uprooted.

Bad habits pull you down. Sure, those vices may not seem all that destructive at first, but like sin, vices are progressive. They start out small, and you think they’re no big deal, and sometimes we can’t even see bad habits until we’re so far involved in practicing them, and by that time, they can seem almost impossible to break. So how can we pull away from destructive behaviours and bad habits?

Three areas I can think of that can help us conquer bad habits:

  1. Be accountable. Perhaps you have a spouse, a best friend, a parent, or even someone within your church family who can encourage you by helping you stay accountable. In the first part of the verse, James 5:16 instructs us to “Confess your faults one to another”.
  2. Pray specifically. The second part of James 5:16 instructs us to “pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” When you have a specific habit you need help overcoming, or a behavior that needs correction, ask for prayer specifically for that concern.
  3. Believe you can overcome bad habits and behaviours. The last part of James 5:16 tells us that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Effectual is another word for successful, and fervent is another word for believing something so truly that you are actual passionate about the topic.

Bad habits and behaviours can be overcome. One of the keys is to nip it in the bud. Like the annoying (and fast-growing) knotweed, bad habits and behaviours have a way of spreading. As Dr. Bob Gilbert said, “First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you.”


Originally published as “3 Ways to Conquer Bad Habits.” Minto Express. April 20, 2016: 5. Print.



February 2016

Hope Reflected: Consistency

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even if we can't see it, every day there will be a sunrise and a sunset.

If you’ve ever lived near, or gone on vacation and stayed at the beach, one of the most exceptional experiences is to watch the sunrise over the ocean. There’s something so majestic about the slow, gradual spread of vibrant colours over the water. Everything is still, with the exception of a few morning birds and waves coming into shore. That’s the miracle of nature. Even if we can’t see it, every day there will be a sunrise and a sunset, day in, day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.


While change is inevitable, each one of us can make the choice to remain consistent – in our faith, relationships, and work. Aristotle once said, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Let’s face it – you can’t create habits without consistency.

Three facts about the power of consistency:

  1. Consistency is one of the keys to success. There’s a difference in being persistent and being consistent. As the old adage goes, “If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.” Consistent people are often more successful, and that’s a fact.
  2. Consistency requires patience. Greatness is never achieved in just one single act; it’s what we do with each day that we’re given that counts. Awesome achievements require time.
  3. Consistency proves people. Remember the saying “don’t trust words, question actions, but never doubt patterns”? We’ve probably all been there at some point or other. See #1, but someone who’s consistently inconsistent? Oy vey.

While it’s impossible for anyone to be as consistent as the sunrise and sunset, each of us can make the choice to be more consistent in the things that matter. And beware when you choose consistency – there will always be people who say consistency is boring or uninteresting. Those are shortsighted opinions. You can still be spontaneous once in a while even whilst you’re living with consistency!



February 2016

Hope Reflected: The Link Between Gratitude and Love

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work, Uncategorized

In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

About this time last year, I wrote a column on the importance of practicing an attitude of gratitude. While it’s pretty easy to understand that thanksgiving and gratitude go hand in hand, all this talk of gratitude and expressing thanks has got me thinking – how closely linked are gratitude and love?

You know how when you’re thankful for a person or object, you express gratitude? Gratitude is a way of placing value on someone or something. This is similar to what you do when you love: You place value on whatever happens to be the object of your love.

I’m a huge believer that having an attitude of gratitude helps a person to be more joyful (if you don’t believe me, try it)! And, I’m also convinced that the more we learn to show our gratitude for the people and things around us; the more we open ourselves up to love.

Here are three tips if you’re looking to live with more love in your life:

  1. Keep a gratitude list. Or a journal, or a prayer book. Whatever you call your version, don’t forget to make notes on the people and things for which you’re thankful. It doesn’t have to be every day, but at least once a week make a gratitude note. It can be as simple as “I woke up this morning” (because let’s be honest, the gift of life each day and the ability to get out of bed is something we all take for granted).
  2. Pay it forward. Doesn’t have to be anything super-elaborate – even the simple act of buying coffee for the girl or guy behind you in the drive-thru lineup can make someone’s day! Send flowers to a friend or significant other on a day chosen at random (i.e., not their birthday, your anniversary, and not Valentine’s Day). Hand write a note of thanks to someone who’s recently impacted your life for the better.
  3. Take time to give thanks. This is a very difficult thing for many people, myself included. There is something so wonderful about taking time to just be. Having time to yourself, or time reserved for loved ones is an amazing, easy way to see and soak up life’s little blessings. Too often we get caught up in the fast-paced world around us, but I find for myself, it’s those moments – where I’m holding the hand of someone I love instead of my phone, making eye contact with my family and friends rather than staring at a cold computer screen, or putting my feet up and reading a book rather than running around doing work – when I slow down, that I actually have time to think. And when I think, I can’t help but be amazed at all of the blessings in my life. Might take some brain training, to focus on the positive instead of the next item on your to-do list, but trust me, it can be done.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that above items are all directly related to gratitude. Really, I don’t think we can properly love without sharing our gratitude.  Both virtues live in our hearts and it’s up to us to express them. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude.”


Originally published as “The Link Between Love and Gratitude”. Minto Express. February 11 2015: 5. Print.