Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Christian living Archive

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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Thursday

17

September 2020

Cast, don’t carry

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"To cast our burden upon God is to stay ourselves upon his providence and promise, and to be very easy in the assurance that all shall work for good." Matthew Henry | Read more about casting your cares at hopereflected.com

What does it mean “to cast”?

When boating, to cast off means to free your boat from its mooring and set out on the water. In angling, to cast is the act of throwing your fishing line and bait out over the water. While knitting, casting on is a method of adding new stitches that don’t depend on earlier stitches. No matter the context, the act of casting requires energy and exertion on the part of the person performing it.

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55:22

When David penned Psalm 55, he wrote in verse 22, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” We are to cast our burden on the Lord. We aren’t to hesitate, and we aren’t to pray and then worry, rather, we are to throw our cares on Him. What is our burden? Perhaps it’s a fear of the unknown, or an uncertain future. Maybe it’s worry over finances. It could even be concern for our physical or mental health. “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop,” we read in Proverbs 12:25. What is weighing heavy on your heart? Whatever our burden, we are to cast it on Him. In his commentary on Psalm 55, Matthew Henry said that, “To cast our burden upon God is to stay ourselves on his providence and promise, and to be very easy in the assurance that all shall work for good.” It’s easier said than done.

Casting takes work

Casting our care is certainly not for the faint of heart, and it always requires full disclosure to God. We can be quick to forget in our prayers that God sees and knows all – not even the darkest, deepest parts of our hearts are hidden to Him. If we are to truly cast our burden upon the Lord, if we truly want Him to sustain us, we must be totally honest and open with Him. We must be humble.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7

Peter, in his first epistle to the Christians in and around Asia Minor, specifically when writing to the elders, encouraged them to “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” then he wrote, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Part of casting our cares upon Him requires us to humble ourselves. Remember in Psalm 138:6 we understand that God is close to the humble, “but the proud he knoweth afar off.” It doesn’t matter how strong your pitching arm is, the farther away something is when you’re trying to cast to it, the more difficult it is. Spiritually, we cannot cast our cares on the Lord unless we are close to Him.  

Rather than looking everywhere else for support, we should look to Him to sustain us. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Jesus promises in Matthew 11:28-30, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Originally published as “Cast, don’t carry.” Independent Plus. May 14, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

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Monday

7

September 2020

Devotions require devotion

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“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 | Read devotions require devotion on hopereflected.com

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Devotions are the name that we give to our daily time with God, usually spent reading the Bible and possibly a Bible study guide or book, and praying. They are not something we do just once, they’re not a habit we develop overnight, and they’re not a practice that comes to us naturally. Devotions require commitment, dedication, loyalty – our devotions requires devotion.

The Bible isn’t merely a history book

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (15:4) The Bible, with its 66 books, 31,102 verses, and countless topics that are just as relevant today as they were when they were written, is given to us for our learning and for our comfort. The Bible isn’t merely a history book; it is our tool book, and the greatest weapon in our arsenal, after all, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Devotions convict us of our sin

This is one of the reasons that some Christians neglect to spend time in devotion with God’s Word. Because the Bible discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart, and it’s quick to convict us of our sin, it makes for some uncomfortable self-reflection. As Tozer once said, “An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly.” This is another reason we ought to devote more time to God. “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading,” wrote C.S. Lewis. God’s Word has the power to transform, and the more time we spend in the Bible the more we will grow.

Our devotional time will bring us closer to our Lord

There is a misconception that our devotional time will always be filled with some spiritual enlightenment, with “aha” moments, and feelings of closeness with our Lord. This is not always the case – and that’s not a bad thing. We may at times experience enlightenment, and there will be truths revealed to us that we’ve not seen or understood before. Our devotional time will bring us closer to our Lord even when we don’t feel it. Our daily soak in God’s Word is meant to develop, reprove, correct, and instruct us over time. Devotions take time. Just as going to the gym doesn’t give you overnight results, so devotional time in God’s Word won’t transform you in a day.

“I will run the way of thy commandments… Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.” (Psalm 119:32-33). Our devotions require devotion.

You may also be interested in: 3 reasons to start doing devotions daily

Originally published as “Devotions require devotion.” Independent Plus. May 7, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

1

September 2020

Hot or cold, but not lukewarm

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"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13) | Read more at hopereflected.com - Hot or cold, but not lukewarm

We don’t like lukewarm things, do we?

Whether it’s a cuppa tea, bathwater, or dinner, lukewarm just won’t do. When any of the aforementioned are lukewarm, they lose their appeal and they’re just not as effective.

The same is true of lukewarm Christians. We all know them, and if we’re honest, we’ll admit that at sometime, we’ve been them. Afraid to go against the flow, concerned with political correctness more than we are with Biblical authority, worried that our friends won’t agree with our opinions, too tired to stand up for what’s right, and guilty of thinking that we can’t make a difference anyway.

God is very clear about the results of being lukewarm.

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,”

Revelation 3:16

God is very clear about the results of being lukewarm: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,” (Rev. 3:16). James in his eponymous epistle describes being lukewarm or wishy washy like this: “For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways,” (James 1:6-8). Whether we call it being lukewarm, wishy washy, or double minded, the Bible warns us of the results of being lukewarm.

One of the most important ways to ensure we don’t become lukewarm is by staying in God’s Word.

We can discern the difference between right and wrong, good and evil if we are more immersed in God’s Word than we are in the culture and world around us. That doesn’t mean that we live with our heads under rocks, quite the contrary. We need to be armed and equipped for the real world. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,” we read in Hebrews 4:12, “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

We need to put on the full armor of God to avoid becoming lukewarm.

The most powerful piece of equipment we have is God’s Word. Psalm 1 promises that “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” We need to put on the full armor of God to avoid becoming lukewarm.

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,”

1 Corinthians 16:13

When our foundation is firm, we can stand fast. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,” Paul encouraged believers in 1 Corinthians 16:13. Jesus Himself said that we should strengthen our brethren (Luke 22:32). We should encourage each other to be “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear,” (1 Peter 3:15).

“Christianity if false is of no importance, and if true of infinite importance,” said C.S. Lewis, “The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” We do not serve a part-time Saviour, and we cannot be part-time Christians.

Originally published as “Hot or cold, but not lukewarm.” Independent Plus. April 23, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

23

June 2020

Lies the devil tells us

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"Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar." C.S. Lewis | Read more at hopereflected.com

Since the Garden of Eden, the devil’s tactics have remained the same. Too frequently, we believe the lies the devil tells us.

Isolation is one of the devil’s lies

Satan doesn’t want us to be part of a church community or communicating openly. Guaranteed that whatever we feel, there are others who can relate. This is challenging to remember, especially during times of distress. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee:” God promises (Isaiah 41:10). In the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us (Psalm 23:4). When we are brokenhearted, He is with us (Psalm 34:18). When we are acting foolishly, He is with us (Psalm 73:23). When we can’t find our way, He is with us (Psalm 139:11). We are not alone.

Satan would love for us to believe that we are alone

Satan would love for us to believe that we are alone, and he also wants us to feel ashamed. He doesn’t want us to share our feelings or to accept God’s grace. Shame is another of the devil’s lies. Satan would have us forever carry around the weight of our past sins, of our regrets, of that thing that happened so long ago that we wish no one would find out about. But God, He’s not a God of shame; He’s a God of saving grace! “For the LORD GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” (Isaiah 50:7). As our Saviour, Christ removes our shame.  “Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.” (Psalm 25:3).

The devil will tell you that no one understands

Another lie Satan wants us to believe is that no one understands us. No one else gets it. Like feeling alone, feeling like no one understands us is another attempt from the devil to hinder our walk with God. But God, He does understand. “Thou understandest my thought afar off.” (Psalm 139:2). God understands far more about us than we do about ourselves! Psalm 139 is a beautiful reminder of this. Truly, as Isaiah wrote, “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.”

Pessimism is another tactic from the devil’s toolkit

It’s easy to become discouraged when we hear about persecution, viruses spreading, and countries at war. The devil would love to see us quit. Too often we allow our discouragement to change our outlook. We are called to press on. We are called to victory! Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” We are to be always abounding in the work of the Lord, not giving up because we don’t think we can make a difference.  We must not believe the lies the devil tells us. As C.S. Lewis said, “Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.”

Originally published as “Lies the devil tells us.” Independent Plus. March 12, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

14

May 2020

Prepare your heart to seek the Lord: Jehoshaphat

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“To seek God does not narrow one’s life, rather it brings it to the level of highest possible fulfillment.” (A.W. Tozer) | Seeking the Lord | Hopereflected.com

Nearly five centuries of history are covered throughout the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, including great detail about the lives of many kings, including Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.

Seeking the Lord

Jehoshaphat, whose name means “Jehovah has judged,” lived a fascinating life. The son of Asa, we read that the Lord was with Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:3). Why was the Lord with Jehoshaphat? Because Jehoshaphat walked in the first ways of David (who we know was a man after God’s own heart), he sought to the Lord, walked in his commandments, and his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.

After learning about Jehoshaphat’s spiritual strengths, it may be surprising to some to find out that Jehoshaphat made some serious errors in judgment throughout his reign. He formed an alliance with King Ahab of Israel –  one of the most wicked kings in history – which almost cost him his life, and later, Jehoshaphat tried to form an alliance with Israel through the building of a navy with the wicked King Ahaziah. Both of these allegiances failed, and yet we still read that throughout his life, Jehoshaphat did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.

Prepare your heart to seek God

We aren’t the only ones who make mistakes in life; even King Jehoshaphat was human! It is encouraging to know that although we fail, although we falter, we can still do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. After his debacle with King Ahab, Jehoshaphat is rebuked for his mistake by the prophet Jehu, who tells him: “Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.” (2 Chronicles 19:3).

How did Jehoshaphat prepare his heart to seek God? Well, even after his misadventure with Ahab, Jehoshaphat “returned in peace” to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 19:1). Jehoshaphat didn’t stay in Ramothgilead, he returned home, and peacefully at that. When we make mistakes, we must return and repent to the Lord. Preparing our hearts to seek God requires confession, repentance, and honesty.

Seeking the Lord means getting our hearts right

Jehoshaphat also prepared his heart to seek God by taking correction well, and making changes. After his mishap with Ahab, the prophet Jehu admonished Jehoshaphat: “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” (19:2). When Jehoshaphat heard this rebuke, he didn’t get upset, he didn’t sulk. On the contrary, he made changes! He stayed in Jerusalem, he brought the people back to God, he set godly judges in place, and he sought after the Lord. When we are corrected, what is our reaction? Do we have an attitude of pride, or are we humble in spirit? To get our hearts right, we must be humble. God is close to the humble, but the proud he knows from afar (Psalm 138:6).

Jehoshaphat got restless, and he wandered, but ultimately he prepared his heart to seek God. As Tozer said, “To seek God does not narrow one’s life, rather it brings it to the level of highest possible fulfillment.”

Originally published as “Prepare your heart to seek the Lord: Jehoshaphat” Independent Plus. March 5, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

6

May 2020

Pride

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"Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off." (Psalm 138:6) | Read more about pride at hopereflected.com

Beware the great destroyer

One of the ways that pride destroys our lives is by pulling us away from the Lord. When we get puffed up with self-empowerment, we push God away. Have you ever noticed that during those times when you’re always right and up on your soapbox, you can’t hear God? David wrote in Psalm 138:6, “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.” Whenever it feels like God can’t hear us, or as though He’s being distant, we should question, is it Him, or is it me? We may be surprised at the answer, after all God knows the proud from afar but “he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” (Psalm 9:12)

“Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.”

Psalm 138:6

If we are growing in relationship with God, then we are dying to self so that we can live for Him. If God comes first in our lives, that doesn’t leave any room for pride. “I have set the LORD always before me:” David wrote in Psalm 16:8, “because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” David didn’t set himself first, he put the Lord first. When we put the Lord first, He is our confidence! That we no longer need to be self-reliant should be such a relief to us.

At the root of the struggle

Beware the great destroyer. For many, pride is holding them back; it is at the root of their struggle to accept Christ as Saviour. To experience true salvation, we have to admit things that pride – read, sin – doesn’t want us to confess. Who wants to be honest and confess that they’re a sinner? No takers? Who wants to admit that they need help? Who wants to get down on their knees and acknowledge that nothing that they do is going to get them into Heaven? Pride, – one of Satan’s weapons of choice, the great destroyer, – doesn’t want any of us to do that.

We can’t earn our salvation

Pride is that false confidence that convinces us that we can earn our salvation. “I go to church,” “I take communion,” “I do good things,” “I’m kind to others,” “I give money,” “I volunteer,” – “I” is at the very centre of sin and pride, quite literally. No amount of money or good deeds is going to get us into Heaven. Nothing but confessing our sin and acknowledging Christ as our Saviour can open that door. Is pride holding you back?

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

1 Corinthians 10:12

Another way pride destroys our lives is by puffing us up only to shamefully deflate us. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) We know that God hates it, and yet so often we allow pride to make fools out of us. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,” (Proverbs 12:15). C.S. Lewis called pride “the chief of all misery… Without pride there is no offense. Pride is what made the devil the devil.” We should not give place to pride, as Lewis said, “For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

You can read more about pride here.

Originally published as “Pride” Independent Plus. February 21, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

24

April 2020

Noah: An Example in Obedience

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“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (Genesis 6:22) | Noah: An Example in Obedience | hopereflected.com

One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience

Noah. Abraham. Rahab. Moses. Joshua. David. What is one thing that all of these people have in common? While their lives were all incredibly different, the commonality between them was obedience: They were each obedient to the call of the Lord.    

Look at Noah, for example. When Noah lived, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth,” we read in Genesis 6:5, “and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We think we’ve got it bad today! The Bible tells us that during Noah’s time, the earth was so filled with evil that the Lord felt bad that he had made man on the earth, and His heart was grieved. The Lord was so grieved that He decided to destroy man from the planet, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen. 6:8)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Genesis 6:8

Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord? Well, we read in the next verse that Noah was a just man, blameless, and that He walked with God. One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience, there’s just no other path. We can learn so much from Noah and his walk.

Noah didn’t hesitate

Consider this: Noah’s obedience to the Lord was immediate. When God said to Noah, “Make thee an ark,” (Gen. 6:14), Noah didn’t hesitate and say, “Lord, why do you want me to do that?” or “Are you sure you want me to do that? It’s not even raining.” No, Noah, didn’t hesitate. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (6:22) Noah didn’t question God’s instruction, he didn’t question God’s timing, and he didn’t question his ability to complete the task. American Pastor Steven Furtick says that, “great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience.” While the task at hand for Noah certainly wasn’t simple, it was a step that preceded a great move of God.  

It’s also important to recognize that Noah’s obedience was not influenced by others. While it is important that we are prayerful in our decision-making, and that we heed wise counsel, when we are walking with God as Noah did, our obedience won’t be influenced by anyone who doesn’t have our best interest at heart. D.L. Moody once said that, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.” It may seem difficult, especially when others question us, however when we are walking in obedience to God, He grants us peace.  

Noah’s obedience saved his life and the life of his family. They entered the ark before the flood started. We read in Genesis 7:10 that it was seven days after they entered the ark that the flood actually started. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t make sense. We may not understand the timing, we may not see any realistic reason in the moment, but that’s the beauty of obeying God. We don’t have to have all the answers, because He always does what is best for us.

You can read more about Biblical obedience here.

Originally published as “Noah: An Example in Obedience.” Independent Plus. February 13, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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