Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

comfort Archive

Friday

8

February 2019

Hope for the Anxious Heart

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In the midst of how you’re feeling, it always helps to remember the facts

While the degree to which may vary, anxiety affects each of us in some shape or form. It can be easy to get caught up in the events of the day, to find your mind wandering and replaying in the middle of the night, or playing out possible scenarios to all kinds of situations that haven’t even happened. Anxiety, fear, and worry happen to us all. In the midst of how you’re feeling, it always helps to remember the facts. There is hope for the anxious heart.

Feeling worried? Remember what Jesus asked the disciples in Luke 12: “Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26) The only thing that worrying accomplishes is wearing you out. Jesus also said that we should, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34). When you’re tempted to worry, take it to the Lord and He will give you peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

Beyond worry, fear is also a reality for many people. When Joshua became Moses’s successor, it was a daunting task. He was commanded to “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) Or consider David, who penned Psalm 34 from the cave of Adullam while fleeing Saul. In the midst of his fears, David said, “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4) “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.” (Isaiah 35:4)

Hope for the anxious heart is never too far away, in fact, God promises us that He is always with us (Isaiah 41:10) and He will never abandon us (Hebrews 13:5-6). “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19) What are God’s comforts? His love is eternal, His promises are never broken, and He is the surety of our salvation. As Thomas Horton said, “The little world within us is, like the great world without full of confusion and strife; but when Jesus enters it, and whispers “Peace be unto you,” there is a calm, yea, a rapture of bliss. Let us turn away from the mournful contemplation of the oppression of man and the present predominance of the wicked, to that sanctuary of pure rest which is found in the God of all comfort.”

Originally published as “Hope for the anxious heart.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 8, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

16

February 2018

Hope Reflected | Understanding the characteristics of a solid church

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“Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” A.W. Tozer | Characteristics of a solid church | See more at hopereflected.com

Understanding the characteristics of a solid church

After last week’s column, a few readers suggested that perhaps just as important as going to church is that the church that you’re going to needs to be a solid church.

So what makes a solid church?

There are several characteristics. A solid church is so much more than a bricks-and-mortar building. A solid church is about the people attending, and more than that, that the people attending are all joining together for the same purpose – to worship God, and to proclaim the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead, so that we might not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

If you’ve been looking for a church, or contemplating what kind of church you should be attending, here are a few indications of a solid church.

A solid church speaks the truth. “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:17) A solid church is one that believes that the Bible is the divinely inspired – and complete – Word of God. What is the truth? The Bible. A solid church speaks the truth. “He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit.” (Proverbs 12:17) God’s Word is faithful and true (Revelation 22:6) and that’s what you’ll find in a solid church.

A solid church challenges and inspires growth. “…from who the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16) A solid church isn’t just a place where you go to feel good about yourself – no, a solid church is about much more than just “feeling”. Beyond any emotion, a solid church will challenge you through speaking the truth, and inspire growth.. “A wise man will hear and increase in learning. And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” (Proverbs 1:5) A solid church is place where Christians can seek “wise counsel” and grow in their faith. And as Matthew Henry said, “The Christian’s growth tends to the glory of Christ.”

A solid church provides comfort. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16) A solid church is a place that provides comfort and renewal. As much as it’s meant to challenge Christians, the church is also meant to be a place where believers can have fellowship one with another. Through fellowship, and the preaching of God’s Word, we can find comfort and renewal. You may be familiar with Proverbs 16:24, which tells us that, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” A solid church provides comfort through fellowship with other Christians.

A solid church isn’t trying to look like the world, to remove the Cross, or to provide entertainment for the masses. As Tozer said, “Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” A solid church speaks the truth, challenges and inspires growth, and provides comfort. It also encourages Christians to serve humbly, to live by faith, and to grow closer to our Lord.

Originally published as “Understanding the characteristics of a solid church.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 30, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

11

August 2017

Hope Reflected | Hidden in Plain View

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"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105 | See more at hopereflected.com

Hidden in plain view

Last week, I had a visit from my friend Rudy. We met last year, and since discovering our mutual Faith, Rudy has been a real encouragement to my heart. He has his own unique ministry, part of which includes taking the fronts of cards and photographs and putting them on wooden plaques to hang as art. Rudy gifted me a few of these plaques, including one with the name of JESUS painted between lines that reads “Some see Him; some don’t”. Besides being a conversation starter, Rudy’s gift is also thought provoking. While some of us accept Christ at a young age and live our lives trying to follow Him, others go their whole lives and either don’t realize – or refuse to acknowledge – that Christ is right in front of them. And why is that?

Perhaps you think all Christians are hypocritical. Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience by going to church. Or maybe you think that Christians just can’t get along. Whatever you think, the fact is that we are all human. We all make mistakes, and we all sin. Yes, everyone! The only thing that makes Christians different is that we’ve accepted Christ into our hearts.

Whether or not you choose to accept it, Jesus is right in front of you. He knew about you even before you were born, and He gave His life so that you can have eternal life. You may not want to think about what happens when you die, or when your loved ones die, but Heaven and Hell are both very real places. What you choose to live for here on earth determines where you will spend your eternity. So are you ready? And if you haven’t chosen to live for Christ, what have you got to lose?

Maybe you think you’ve already got it all together; perhaps you’re retired, you live in your dream home, and you drive a great car. Or, maybe you’re struggling, between jobs, and trying to make ends meet. Choosing to live for Christ doesn’t necessarily mean that your life on earth is going to get any better or worse – in fact, now more than ever before, Christians are persecuted for what we believe, – however choosing a life for Christ means that you will always, always, have a built-in compass, a comforter, and a constant companion.

Christ is our compass.Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) You know that feeling when you’re lost, or when the GPS is slower than your car and you miss the turn off for your destination? When you choose to live for Christ, and you’re seeking Him daily, you don’t have to worry about getting lost. He’ll keep you on the right track, even if it means providing just enough light to take you to the next step. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Christ is our comforter. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) Wherever you are, and whatever you’re going through, Christ is the Great Comforter. Matthew 5:4 tells us that “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall comforted.” There is no person or thing on this earth that can compare to the comfort that Christ provides.

Christ is our constant companion. “And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Exodus 33:14) David said in Psalm 46 that God is “ever present” with us. No matter where you are – both physically and emotionally – God is with you. All you have to do is talk to Him. It might sound silly to some, but from my own experience, when you make a point to pray and converse with God, He hears you, and He will show you in amazing ways that He hears you.

Christ will never turn away anyone who turns to Him.

Originally published as “Hidden in plain view.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. August 3, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Monday

4

April 2016

A Guide to Encouraging Bible Verses Part 1 – Verses About Peace, Courage, Comfort, Happiness, and Joy

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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apr4_hopereflected_psalm4211

As I’ve written in past columns, there are so many ways to be encouraged. Smiling more often, writing a handwritten note, going for a walk – these are all great ways to boost not only our own morale, but also the spirit of others who are touched by our gratitude.

Another great way to be encouraged is to dig into God’s Word and find some verses of encouragement. Feeling anxious? There are verses for that. Feeling afraid? There are verses for that. Feeling sad? There are verses for that. This selection is certainly not exhaustive, however I’ve curated some of my favourite Bible verses about a few different topics that I hope will be an encouragement to you, wherever you’re at in your walk today.

[If you’re feeling afraid or anxious] Verses about PEACE:

  • Psalm 4:8 “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
  • Psalm 29:11 “The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.”
  • Psalm 34:14b “Seek peace, and pursue it.”
  • Psalm 85:8a “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people…”
  • Isaiah 26: 3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.”
  • Isaiah 26:12 “LORD, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us.”
  • Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”

[If you’re feeling afraid] Verses about COURAGE:

  • Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave your nor forsake you.”
  • Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
  • Ezra 10:4 “Be of good courage, and do it.”
  • Psalm 27:1 “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?”
  • Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
  • Psalm 31:24 “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”
  • Psalm 118:6 “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

[If you’re feeling sad] Verses about COMFORT, HAPPINESS, and JOY:

  • Nehemiah 8:10b “The joy of the LORD is your strength.”
  • Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
  • Psalm 32:11 “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”
  • Psalm 42:11 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
  • Psalm 119:111 “Thy testimonies have I taken has an heritage forever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart.”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 “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.”

 

Originally published as “A Guide to Encouraging Verses in the Bible Part 1 – Verses About Peace, Courage, Comfort, Happiness, and Joy”. Minto Express. March 9, 2016: 5: Print.

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