Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

bible Archive

Monday

6

February 2017

20 “But God” Verses of Encouragement

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20 But God verses of encouragement

If you’re feeling down, sad, small, lonely, afraid, brokenhearted, or like everything (and everyone) is working against you, remember this: God created you for a purpose that only you can fulfill, and God, He’s in control.

Yes, sometimes people will do things with the wrong intentions, in an attempt to cause you problems, to purposefully hurt you, or to set up stumbling blocks in your life. Yes, you will have bad days, sad days, and mad days. Yes, you may endure seasons (sometimes back to back to back) where it feels like you’re carrying the weight of the world.

When I’m in need of encouragement, or even a reminder of Who’s really in control, I look up some of the greatest verses in the Bible — the “But God” verses.

“But God”, you ask? Yes! Some of the most incredible plot twists in the Bible happen with two words: But. God. Here are 20 of the best “But God” verses to encourage you today:

  • Genesis 50:20 “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
  • Exodus 13:18 “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea; and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.”
  • Deuteronomy 23:5 “…but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.”
  • 1 Samuel 23:14 “And Saul sought him [David] every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.”
  • 1 Kings 5:4 “But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.”
  • Psalm 49:15 “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.”
  • Psalm 66:19 “But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.”
  • Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart faith: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
  • Psalm 75:7 “But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.”
  • Psalm 86:15 “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
  • Jeremiah 10:10 “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath shall the earth tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.”
  • Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
  • Mark 2:7 “Who can forgive sings but God only?”
  • Mark 10:27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things possible.”
  • Luke 16:15 “…but God knoweth your hearts.”
  • Acts 7:9 “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him.”
  • Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
  • 1 Corinthians 3: 7 “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
  • Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
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Friday

3

February 2017

Hope Reflected | 3 ways to be kind: Words of truth from the book of Ephesians

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3 ways to be kind: Words of truth from the book of Ephesians hope reflected

3 ways to be kind: Words of truth from the Book of Ephesians

If you’ve been anywhere on social media, you’re aware of the whirlwind of emotions that people have been feeling leading up to – and during – the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. Self-proclaimed political pundits, Wes and I were especially interested in the events of the past week, in which we realized the dawn of a new era. Some think that the new President is bad news, others think he’s a breath of fresh air; no matter what you’re feeling about the new President, pretty much everyone has an opinion.

With recent political happenings, it’s been interesting to see and hear the reactions of friends on both sides of the border. One thing is glaringly clear: In the midst of opening up about opinions, people need to learn how to express their thoughts without discriminating and showing intolerance. Too often, the people crying out for justice and equality are the very ones unwilling to demonstrate those same virtues to others of differing opinions.

In reading the book of Ephesians, a book in the Bible the basis of which is the unity of the Church, I am moved by the many practical examples that the book of Ephesians shows of how to cultivate kindness in everyday life.

Each of us could do with more kindness – both on the giving and receiving ends. To cultivate kindness in your own life, consider these three ways to be kind:

  1. Practice patience. “Be patient.” Ephesians 4:2 In the KJV, ‘longsuffering’ is the word. Longsuffering is defined as “having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people”. It’s not always easy to be patient with others – when you’re working on a deadline, when the kids are goofing off instead of doing what you asked, when you’re feeling anxious – but we need to show grace to others (as well as ourselves).
  2. Show compassion. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 In some versions the word ‘tenderhearted’ is replaced with ‘compassionate’, and here’s what that means: To be tenderhearted or compassionate means to be concerned for others, and to be sympathetic. Rather than looking in all the time and being concerned with your own best interests, get into the practice of looking out (and up!) and try putting others first. It can be as simple as opening a door for someone or letting a car cut in front of you in traffic.
  3. Stand firm. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” Ephesians 6:14 Many people have a misconception that being kind means you have to be weak or let yourself get walked over by others who have a stronger voice than you. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Being kind requires us to stand firm in what we believe. You’ve heard the saying, “speak the truth in love,” and when you’re cultivating kindness, you’re speaking the truth, in love, standing firm on what you know to be true.

We don’t have to agree on everything – or anything, for that matter – to be kind to one another. Remember, you are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel. Don’t underestimate how even the smallest of kind actions can impact the life of another. As Mark Twain said, “Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Wherever you are, cultivate kindness.

Originally published as “3 ways to be kind: Words of truth from the book of Ephesians.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 25, 2017: 7. Print.

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Wednesday

1

February 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Meekness isn’t weakness

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meekness isn't weakness; it's strength under control.

“Meekness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control.”

I love this quote. Meekness can be defined in several ways, including gentle, humble, soft, or mild. Meekness is not weakness.

Just because you’re gentle, just because you’re humble, just because you’re kind— in no way does that mean that you are weak. In fact, I’d say quite the opposite. Meekness requires a great deal of strength.

Meekness requires strength to maintain grace and poise when others oppose you for standing up for what’s right; meekness requires strength to remain calm even though inside you’re not; meekness requires strength to have a heart and a spirit that are submitted and committed to living for the Lord.

Ephesians 4:1-2 says that we should “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness.”

“Meekness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control.”

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Wednesday

11

January 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Listen to Your Heart

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be yourself listen to your heart

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Eleanor Roosevelt

In her book, You Learn by Living, Eleanor Roosevelt provided many nuggets of wisdom, including the wise words to listen to your heart. A politician, diplomat, and activist, Eleanor Roosevelt was a great example of a strong woman.

When I was a child, my Mum always used to tell me to be myself, to do what I felt was right, regardless of what everyone else was doing. As a child, that’s hard advice to take, especially when you want to ‘fit in’. Looking back, I am so glad that I heeded her wisdom to listen to my heart and stay true to myself, even if it wasn’t ‘cool’.

No matter what you do, there is going to be someone out there who criticizes you, or thinks they know better, so why bother trying to be a people-pleaser when you can be the unique creation God intended you to be? Be yourself; there is no one else better suited. God created you with a unique purpose that only you can fulfill, so trust Him and listen to His leading.

There are several verses throughout Scripture that talk about the importance of what’s in your heart:

  • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
  • “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
  • “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
  • A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Don’t be afraid of what other people will think of you, just be yourself and listen to your heart; the only opinion of you that matters is God’s.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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Wednesday

9

November 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Remember to Look Up

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verses about looking up

If you’re constantly walking with your eyes on the ground, you’re going to miss out on so much in life. Remember to look up; to take time to give thanks and count your blessings.

In today’s edition of Wednesday Wisdom, I’m sharing some of my favourite Bible verses about the importance of remembering to look up.

Job 26:7 “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

Psalm 36:5 “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.”

Psalm 121:1 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 123:1 “Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.”

Psalm 147:8 “Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.”

Isaiah 40:26 “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.”

John 11:41 “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.”

 

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Wednesday

19

October 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Guard Your Heart, Mind, and Tongue

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guard your heart, mind, tongue

We’ve all been there; at least once a week, I something I shouldn’t say and then afterwards lament about it. Our words are incredibly powerful, and once we say them, we can’t take them back. Before we speak, we have to consider and be conscious of what we’re taking into our minds and hearts.

Here are 3 verses each about remembering to guard your heart, mind, and tongue:

Guard Your Heart

  • Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
  • Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
  • Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

For more verses about the importance of guarding your heart, see also Psalm 51:10, Jeremiah 17:9, Philippians 4:6-7, and 1 John 3:20.

Guard Your Mind

  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
  • 1 Peter 1:13 “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”
  • Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

For more verses about guarding your thoughts and your mind, see also Psalm 101:3, Proverbs 4:25, Romans 12:2.

Guard Your Tongue

  • Proverbs 13:3 “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”
  • Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
  • Proverbs 21:23 “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

For more verses on the importance of guarding your tongue, see also Proverbs 15:4, Proverbs 17:28, Matthew 12:36, and Ephesians 4:29.

 

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Monday

26

September 2016

Encouragement: Ecclesiastes 3:11

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ecclesiastes 3:11 God's perfect timing

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

There are so many truths throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, and Ecclesiastes 3:11 is a great reminder of God’s perfect timing. So often in life, we put a plan in motion for exactly how we want and envision things to work out. We think we’ve got things figured out, like we know what’s best for our future.

It’s very easy to forget that God’s perfect timing for our lives can turn out to be completely different from what we imagine as being right. In Isaiah 55:8-9, we’re told, “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.” Our thoughts and ways are usually very different from our Lord’s, aren’t they? I also really like how Ecclesiastes 11:5 talks about the wonders of God: “Just as you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”

How many times have you been in a situation, and anticipated how circumstances would work out, as though you were in control? How many times do you think that you’re the one who’s in control, that you can climb that mountain with your own strength, that you can change someone’s heart through your own actions? The reality is, God is in control, and it’s only through Him that we accomplish anything at all!

In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he says the following about Ecclesiastes 3:11: “Every thing is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts, are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them. The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God’s works.”

When I find myself getting impatient or experiencing disappointment, or when things don’t work out as I think they should, it’s a great reminder to look at verses such as Ecclesiastes 3:11 about God’s perfect timing. It may not make sense right now, but God’s got a reason. Our task, like Job, is to continue praising Him even when things don’t make sense, and to continue trusting Him and growing our Faith. “Who does great and unsearchable things, Wonders without number.” [Job 5:9] Job experienced more testing circumstances and situations throughout his life, and yet he never once questioned what God was doing. He knew that God had a plan and would work every thing out in His timing.

Wherever you are today, whether waiting, wondering, or worrying, take heart. God’s perfect timing is worth the wait! God is in control, and He hath made every thing beautiful in His time.

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

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Wednesday

21

September 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Discouragement is a Choice

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discouragement is a choice

“Disappointments are inevitable. Discouragement is a choice.” Charles Stanley

It would be completely unrealistic to think that throughout our lives we’ll never experience disappointment. Yet, how often do we experience disappointment and then get discouraged, without realizing that taking the unnecessary detour of discouragement is actually a choice?

Disappointment is defined as “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”

Discouragement is defined as “a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.”

It’s easy to see then how experiencing disappointment can lead to discouragement, right? Especially if we experience repeated disappointments; it can cause us to doubt our abilities, to question our circumstances, to choose discouragement.

Charles Stanley’s words, “Disappointments are inevitable. Discouragement is a choice.” are easy words to say, and hard to live. I know in my own life I often struggle with disappointment and discouragement. The key is not to stay there!

When you’re tempted to choose discouragement, remember these verses:

  • “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
  • “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7
  • “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
  • “Fear thou not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God; I will strengthen you, yes I will help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
  • “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11
  • “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
  • “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
  • “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
  • “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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Monday

29

August 2016

Monday Encouragement: 2 Timothy 4:17

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2 Timothy 4:17

“Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me;” 2 Timothy 4:17

The beginning of a new week always brings with it a sense of freshness. While I’d love to say the start of a new week always brings along with it a renewed energy, that’d be a lie, because quite often on Mondays we wake up longing for the weekend past and not ready to get out of bed at an early hour. (Especially as the days are getting shorter, am I right?!)

That being said, I find encouragement in the words of Paul in his second letter to Timothy: “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me”.

Two things we quite often take for granted:

  1. The Lord stands with us,
  2. The Lord strengthens us.

There are some commentaries on the book of 2 Timothy that state that God provided Paul with courage and readiness. Heading into a new week, I can’t think of two qualities better fitted to equip us for the week ahead.

If you’re entering this week feeling discouraged, or down, or lacking the energy you think you need to make it through, meditate on God’s Word and promises. He will stand with you and strengthen you if you put your trust in Him.

“Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me;” 2 Timothy 4:17

 

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Friday

26

August 2016

Hope Reflected: The Importance of Being Original

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original

 

Wes and I love jazz. Diana Krall, Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Wes Montgomery; you name the artist, and chances are, we’ve got them in our playlist. Listening to a Diana Krall album last week, we were both struck by her ability to take a standard that’s been sung so many times before and make it her own. Krall has her own distinct delivery that gives her the ability to sing the same songs as other jazz artists, but to make them unique. She takes the influences that speak to her and infuses them into her music. Krall is an original.

We all collect and draw influences from our surroundings – people, music, movies, books, ideologies – and we live these influences out in our daily lives. Even what you eat can affect your mind! That’s why it’s so important to be conscious of what you allow into your heart and mind.

In a world of copycats, it’s not easy to be original. And let’s be real, is there anything that’s truly original anymore? King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.” God is the original Creator of every single thing, and He created each of us uniquely in His image.

Why else is it important to be original?

  1. God created you to be you. Not your neighbour, not your best friend. God created you with a distinct purpose in mind, and you can’t achieve His purpose for your life if you spend all your time trying to be like other people. Luke 12:7 reminds us that “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” If God knows the exact amount of how many (or how few) hairs are on your head, you can rest assured that He created you for a purpose that only you can accomplish and fulfill.
  2. You have a responsibility to draw from the Original Source. While there are many influences in the world, remember to draw your best influences from the Creator of everything: God. God is loving, and He is the Great Comforter. God provides peace, and only He can provide true joy in our lives. Philippians 4:8 says that “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” When we draw on God as the Original Source of all creation, we keep our focus on the right things in life.
  3. Others look to you as an Influencer. As much as you draw from the influences of other people, there are also other people who look to you as an influence in their lives. That’s another reason it’s so important to be conscious of the sources from where we draw our influences. 1 Corinthians 15:33 is a great reminder, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”” Who we allow to influence us and how we live our lives matters! Matthew 5:16 tells us “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven.” Being yourself is a big deal; you never know who is watching.

God created all the snowflakes unique, He is the Creator of every single thing, and all of His creations are original. Often overlooked, being original is very important. Be a voice, not an echo!

 

Originally published as “The Importance of Being Original.” Minto Express. July 13, 2016: 5. Print.

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