Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

c.s. lewis Archive



September 2018

Hope Reflected | Be of good courage

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart." Psalm 27:14 | Read more at hopereflected.com

Be of good courage

It’s up to us to make the decision to live a life filled with courage

If you’re familiar with C.S. Lewis’s book, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, then you’re likely familiar with the characters of Aslan and Lucy. In Lewis’s book Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan whispers to Lucy, “Courage, dear heart,” and it is shortly after this that the ship Lucy is sailing on travels from darkness into light. “And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been,” writes Lewis.

In a recent column, I wrote about the importance of choosing joy, and today I’d like to suggest that courage is also a choice. Courage is a decision that we make in the face of fear, opposition, and uncertainty, and it can change everything.

“Be strong, and of good courage,” are words that, by my count, appear at least 10 times throughout Scripture; these words are written four times in the first chapter of Joshua alone! Time and time again throughout the Bible, we are encouraged and commanded as Christians to be of good courage and to be courageous. To be of good courage and lead by example. To be of good courage and not be afraid or quiet when it seems like the majority of people disagree with you and want to silence you. To be of good courage and to stand firm and to stand up for what is right.

Does that mean that you’re never afraid? No, on the contrary! As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not the absence of fear.” Does that mean that it’s easy to stand up for what’s right and defend your faith? No, on the contrary! Courage is a choice that as Christians we’re called to make, regardless of the circumstances. Joshua was called to be courageous when it came time to lead the Israelites into a new and unknown land. David reminded himself to be courageous during seasons of persecution. Paul demonstrated courage when he traveled across the world and taught about Jesus and came up against many people who disagreed with him.

Courage. We can take courage in many different areas:

  1. God’s Word and Promises. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) Referenced several times throughout Deuteronomy and Joshua alone, we can take courage in God’s Word and Promises. God is always with us. God will not fail us. God will not forsake us. Don’t be dismayed. Don’t be discouraged, because God is with you! Don’t believe me? Ask Him. If you truly seek God out, you will find Him. And that’s a fact. We can take courage in God’s Word and in His Promises, because they never change. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8). Not just for one hundred years. Not just for one thousand years. God’s Word stands forever. Some people may not like it, many people may try to fight it, but we can be strong and of a good courage because the Bible is our firm foundation, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)!
  2. Other Christian Believers. “And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us… whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.” (Acts 28:15) You know that feeling you get when you realize that someone else shares the same faith, or when you discover that there’s someone else out there who totally gets something you thought only you understood? We can take courage in other Christian believers. Each one of us can take time to “encourage” other Christian believers. Just as thousands of candles can be lighted from a single flame, all it takes is one voice to speak out and to stand up for our faith, and that can inspire others to do the same. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John… they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) As Christians, we aren’t called to be silent. We aren’t called to be pacifists. On the contrary, we are called to be strong and to be courageous, and to stand up and be counted. Maybe that means witnessing to someone who doesn’t know the Lord. Maybe that means getting out and voting, even if you’ve never done it before. Maybe that means being silent and not laughing when someone says something crude or makes fun of another. We can take courage in other Christians, and we can also encourage one another.
  3. Our Faith in the Lord. “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14) Living our Faith can be hard, can’t it? Especially when sometimes it seems like God is silent, or like He can’t hear us, or during times when we think we’ve got everything under control only to be thrown curve ball after curve ball. As Charles Stanley says, “Obey God, and leave the consequences to Him.” Exercising patience and prayerfully waiting on the Lord before making a decision can be one of the hardest things. But the wait is worth it. When you choose courage and exercise your faith, the Lord will bless you. “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24) When we choose courage, God will strengthen our hearts. It may not always be in exactly the way we plan, but part of having Faith means not resting in our own knowledge or following our own leads (Proverbs 3:5-6). “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong,” we’re encouraged in 1 Corinthians 16:13. We can find courage in our Faith.

The greatest place of all to take courage? When you know the Lord as your personal Saviour, you’ve got something that no man, no weapon, no illness, no circumstance can ever take away. The security that comes with God’s gift of eternal salvation should be all the “encouragement” we need to take courage. “Courage,” said C.S. Lewis, “is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” It’s up to us to make the decision to live a life filled with it.

Originally published as “Courage, Dear Heart.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 19, 2018: 6. Print. Web.



July 2018

Hope Reflected | Forgiveness

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” C.S. Lewis | See more at hopereflected.com

God’s Forgiveness

God’s forgiveness, in addition to being all-encompassing and an example for us to follow, is a great reminder to us of His everlasting love for us.

C.S. Lewis once said that, “everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.” It’s true, isn’t it? So often we’re quick to give out the advice to forgive, but when it comes to leading by example, forgiveness can be difficult. Not that drinking the poison of bitterness and resentment is any less difficult, but sometimes avoidance – of the truth, of hurt, of pain – disguises itself as the easy road.

There is so much that we can learn when we look to the Lord. His forgiveness is a gift.

God’s forgiveness is not an excuse to do whatever you want. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1) This may seem like common sense, but it’s surprising how many people think that God’s forgiveness is an excuse to carry on with sinful behavior. I’d argue the contrary, that God’s forgiveness and grace should be reason enough to do our best to live a faithful and holy life! He sent His Son to the cross for us, to die – that’s the ultimate sacrifice. To continue on in sin, and to not strive to be our best for God is like the ultimate insult and ungratefulness. Does that mean that we’re perfect? No, but it does mean that we even when we trip, we pick up our cross and keep going.

God’s forgiveness is all-encompassing. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) How far is the east from the west, exactly? Well, the two don’t meet. You can travel the world, and east and west don’t intersect. God’s forgiveness separates us from our sins. His forgiveness wipes our slate clean. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) God’s forgiveness isn’t just for some of your sins; God’s forgiveness is all-encompassing and includes even the secrets of which you’re most ashamed.

God’s forgiveness is an example. “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13) God’s forgiveness of our sins is an example of how we should forgive others. C.S. Lewis once said that, “to be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Is it easy? No! Sometimes forgiveness can seem like the hardest thing. We want to focus more on our feelings than we do on Christ, and that’s part of being human. We should challenge ourselves however, to look to Christ’s forgiveness and follow His example, not just with others, but with ourselves as well. “I think that if God forgives us, we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.” (C.S. Lewis)

God’s forgiveness is a gift. God’s forgiveness, in addition to being all-encompassing and an example for us to follow, is a great reminder to us of His everlasting love for us. He loves us enough to forgive us. “The great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.” (C.S. Lewis)

Originally published as “Forgiveness.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. February 8, 2018: 6. Print. Web.



August 2017

Hope Reflected | Humility

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, humility is thinking of yourself less. C.S. Lewis | See more at hopereflected.com


This week, as Wes and I were discussing the subject of humility and the many verses throughout the Bible that focus on the importance of being humble, I came across this acrostic from Living Free Indeed that is so amazing! I wanted to share it with you all along with some verses and thoughts on humility that really spoke to me.

H – Honouring God and others above yourself. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3) You may have heard the Ezra Benson quote that says, “Pride is concerned with who is right; humility is concerned with what is right.” It’s so true! Humility pays more attention to what is right rather than who is right; humility is not a public show where you try to make yourself look good. Humility means to honour God and others above your own self.

U – Understanding your need for grace. “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2) We all fall short – part of humility is recognizing this and means you’re willing – and you want – to perform personal inventory of your heart.

M – Mourning over your sin. “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” (Psalm 25:8-9) We are all sinners. We all make mistakes, and for most of us, it happens several times each day! Part of humility is acknowledging and mourning our sin nature.

I – Illuminating God’s glory. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30) When we think of Jesus, we are quick to think of the Saviour of the world as filled with strength and power (which He is!). That being said, Christ is also meek, and humble. He humbled Himself in the ultimate way when He went to the cross and died for you and me.

L – Look for ways to serve others. “Serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13) Rather than focusing on yourself, look for ways to serve others. As C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.”

I – Ignore your pride and Satan’s lies. “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” (Proverbs 18:12) Pride will get you looking at your life from a telescope while analyzing everyone else under a microscope. Pride will tell you that it matters who is right, not what is right. Pride will judge others rather than remembering that God sees the intentions of each heart.

T – Trust God’s plan over your own. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) God’s plan may not always make sense, and guess what? It’s not necessarily supposed to! (Isaiah 55:8-9) True humility means trusting God’s plan for your life, even when you don’t understand or only have just enough light for one step at a time. God sees the big picture; put your focus on Him.

Y – Yearning to worship. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) Whether you like it or not, God created you, He created the world, and He is worthy of worship. We live in a broken world, and it’s only by putting our focus on Him that everything else comes in to perspective.

At first I questioned writing on the topic of humility, as Timothy Keller once said, “Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves.” But in our pursuit to live Christian lives, it’s important to remember the One Who so perfectly embodies true humility: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Christ wants to meet you where you have a need. Look to the One Who humbled Himself more than anyone else in history, yet at the same time exhibited more strength than we could ever imagine.

Originally published as “Humility.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. July 20, 2017: 7. Print. Web.



October 2016

Hope Reflected: What to do in the face of Adversity

Written by , Posted in Christian Living

what to do in the face of adversity


“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Wise words regarding adversity from one of my favourite authours, C.S. Lewis. Inevitably, we all will face adversity in our lives at some point or another. While it may not be comforting, that’s a fact. Another fact? The key to facing adversity is how we react to it.

Proverbs 24:10 says, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” It’s easy to say, but quite often when we face times of adversity, we wonder how we’ll make it through. One of the keys to facing adversity is remembering how to keep things in perspective. Whether you’re facing adversity spiritually, relationally, physically, or emotionally, there is hope.

The most important fact to remember in the face of adversity is that God can and will help you through the toughest times in your life, if you will put your trust in Him. In the face of adversity, here are three things to do:

  1. Ask the Lord what He’s trying to teach you. Is it patience? (This is a BIG one for me!) Is it humility? Is it trust? Whatever you’re going through, God’s got you. Whatever your current circumstances and situation, God will be there for you if you’ll put your trust in Him. Largely attributed to David – who, if you’re looking or a man who faced plenty of adversity throughout his life, check out the life of David in the Bible – Psalm 119 sheds light on seeking the Lord in times of adversity, especially in verse 71, “It is good or me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Perhaps there’s an area in your life where God is trying teach you or mature you. It seems like my life long I’ve been learning (and learning, and learning) the virtue of patience. Ask the Lord what He’s trying to teach you!
  2. Remind yourself that God is in control. Ecclesiastes 7:14 tells us, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider; God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Whatever you’re facing, God is in complete control. You know what makes that fact easier to accept? When you trust God completely. Trusting God with your whole heart brings a peace that I can’t even begin to describe. As the apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  3. Submit, surrender, and fight the good fight. OK that’s three points in one, but you get the idea. In the face of adversity:
    1. Submit yourself to the Lord. For help with submission, see James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”
    2. Surrender yourself to His will. In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus tells His disciples, “’If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’”
    3. Fight the good fight. 1 Timothy 6:12 tells us to “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” See also 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” And finally, Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, those whom He has called according to His purpose.”

Whatever you’re dealing with today, and wherever this finds you, there is hope. God will provide for you, if you will trust in Him! I’ll close with this quote from Charles Stanley: “Often times God demonstrates His faithfulness in adversity by providing for us what we need to survive. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them.”

Originally published as “What to do in the face of adversity.” Minto Express. September 14, 2016. 5: Print.



February 2016

Hope Reflected: 3 Facts About Forgiveness

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

C.S. Lewis quote

Ever been on the receiving end of advice like, “Just forgive, and move on.” Seriously, people. Is it ever really that simple? Is the concept of ‘water off a duck’s back’ really so straightforward and easy to achieve? If we’re being honest, the answer is no. It doesn’t matter if the wound is fresh, or several decades old: Each one of us has been in at least one situation that has had a life-altering impact – and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing if we can learn the art of forgiveness. Done right, forgiveness is something that brings with it great reward. Forgiveness is also something that requires a huge helping of grace (when we’re forgiving) and mercy (when we require forgiveness).

  1. Forgiveness is a process. Forgiveness is more than just an action or a couple of words. Odd but true, there are some people in this world who think that uttering the words, “I’m sorry,” can wipe the slate clean. Depending on the degree of the wrong that needs to be forgiven, that may be true, however more often than not, forgiveness is a process. Rebuilding trust takes time, and can be especially hard if you’ve been burned before. Proverbs 17:9 (KJV) says “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” It’s like the analogy of the broken plate: Once the plate is dropped on the floor and broken – even if it’s put back together again – chances are the plate will not look the same as before. Forgiveness is a process, and it’s not a guarantee that circumstances and relationships will return to their previous state.
  2. Forgiveness is a commandment, not an option. There are several places in scripture where we are commanded to forgive one another. A couple of my favourite examples include the parable of the unforgiving servant and Paul’s letter to the Colossians. In Matthew 18:21-22 (the parable of the unforgiving servant), Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus responds, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” And again in Colossians 3:13 (NIV), “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” It doesn’t get much more clear than that!
  3. Forgiveness feels good. It’s almost like a release. I believe it was Buddha who said that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. When someone wrongs you, it’s human nature to hold on to that and stew over it. My college pastor frequently said of difficult situations, “You can let it make you bitter, or you can let it make you better.” Choosing forgiveness is like a weight being lifted from your shoulders. It doesn’t mean that you forget what happened to you; what it does mean is that you choose to not let those wrongs touch your today and tomorrow.

Forgiveness is a choice, and with it comes great power. Forgiveness does not excuse bad behavior; it helps the heart and encourages forward movement in life. C.S. Lewis said, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing the monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” It is from learning to let go that we are able to grow.



March 2015

Hope, She Wrote: 3 Ways to Achieve Your Goals

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

C.S.Lewis goals quote

It was C.S. Lewis who said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Dreams and goals are great, but it’s important to remember that you’ve got to back them up with action. Remember back to New Year’s Eve, that magical evening just a couple of short months ago, when people were all pumped full of new energy (and some full of champagne), making biiig plans for 2015? Committing that this was going to be the year of big life changes — getting fit, pursuing new career goals, starting to volunteer, developing healthy eating habits, reading more books — and living your best life? Yeah!!! I remember New Year’s Eve, too.

So… how are your goals going? If you made resolutions, are you still on the right road? If you’ve strayed, or even if you’ve completely fallen off the wagon — whether it be fit/work/volunteer/food, — you’re not alone. Usually it’s about this time in the ‘new’ year when people start to lose track of their goals and their original focus.

If you’re someone who’s lost focus of your goals, here are three ways to help you achieve your goals and get motivated:

  1. Tell someone about it. One of the best ways to achieve your goals: Be accountable to someone. Whether it’s through your social network, a peer group, or on a more private scale with an individual pursuing a similar goal, making yourself accountable is a great way to help you maintain focus and stay on the right track.
  2. Be realistic, and be positive. Being real about your goals may require re-evaluation of your resolutions. The old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is true, especially when it comes to pursuing your goals. Yes, goals should be challenging; they shouldn’t be impossible. Pursuing goals takes patience, and hard work. If you slip up along the way or make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes can be stepping-stones on the road to success, as long as you learn from them and use them to grow. Having a positive attitude will help you to remain focused.
  3. Set a due date. It’s easy at the start of a new year, or when you set a new goal to say, “I want to lose weight”, or, “I want to eat healthy”. But being generic and vague about your goals or resolutions is no way to actively pursue them. You’ve got to put some numbers to it. Make a timeline and pace yourself — where do you aim to be in three months? Six months? One year? How long will it realistically take to achieve your goals? Giving yourself a due date, or having a set of specific target steps in mind with a completion date, will help you successfully achieve your goals.

I love this quote by author and filmmaker Greg S. Reid: “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.” Whatever goals and resolutions you’re pursuing in 2015, remember — achieving your goals is possible with the right attitude and actions!

 Originally published as “3 Ways to Achieve Your Goals”. Minto Express. 28 January 2015: 5. Print.