Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

encouragement Archive

Friday

17

January 2020

Victory in Jesus

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Enough with the fatalistic attitude!

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57) | Victory in Jesus | read more at hoperflected.com

“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.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

We aren’t called to be wimps. We are not called to get caught up in doom and gloom or bad news and bothered outlooks; enough with the fatalistic attitude! We are called to step up, get out there, and be game changers. Christians, remember and rejoice: We have the Holy Spirit living inside us!

Taking courage in the promise of Victory.

Take courage in the promise of victory in Jesus that David shared in Psalm 110. Consider the victory we have in Jesus through His resurrection from Acts 2:31-33: “He [God] seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Contemplate the awesomeness of the victory we have in Jesus Christ’s triumphant return from Revelation 19:11,13: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True…and his name is called The Word of God.” There is victory in Jesus.

The theme of Victory.

We see it throughout Scripture. During Paul’s ministry, though he faced persecution and trials, his communications all have this overarching theme of victory. Look at Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth. One of the central themes is the joy of the Christian’s life in Christ! Read through his letter to the church at Ephesus where he clearly talks about the church’s position in Christ. Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse considers Christ’s preeminence and our life as Christians in Him. Or what about Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi where he encourages believers about our confidence in Christ! Despite his circumstances, Paul’s attitude was still that of victory in Jesus. What an awesome example for us to follow and be encouraged by.

We have proof of Christ’s deity, we have our own detailed Biblical history, and we have the promise of Christ’s triumphant return. What are we doing in the meantime? Take a cue from Scripture and take action. Obey Christ.

Have faith in Christ!

Jesus Christ Himself encourages us to have faith, even if it starts as a grain of mustard seed (Matt. 17:20). He also encourages us to let our light shine: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men…” (Matthew 5:14,16) We are not called to shrink back – we are called to step up. Don’t like what you’re seeing in the world? We aren’t supposed to sit around just waiting for Christ to come save us, we are to let our light shine and share the Good News.

Originally published as “Victory in Jesus.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. September 19, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

16

January 2020

The Importance of Fellowship

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Without Christian fellowship, our faith will falter.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) | The Importance of Christian Fellowship | Read more at hopereflected.com

Our church family email group recently sent out a prayer request for one of our members. Wes and I, along with many others in our church, continue to pray for our friend. It is such an encouragement to have a strong community of believers, who pray for one another and care for one another’s well being.

Christian fellowship is powerful – not because of the people who are part of it – but because of Who we serve.

In Anne Graham Lotz’s book, Jesus in Me, she shares how fellowship directly affects our faith by using the analogy of a burning log that is removed from the fire. When it’s not a part of the fire – eventually, the log stops burning. When a fish is removed from water – eventually, the fish stops breathing. When a star runs out of hydrogen – eventually, the star stops being a star. So it is with us; without Christian fellowship, our faith will falter. We need community.

Christian fellowship is powerful – not because of the people who are part of it – but because of Who we serve.

Beyond fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our church community is one of the places where we have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Fellowship of the Ring (from the Lord of the Rings trilogy) once wrote to his son that, “the only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion.” Communion itself is the very act of communing with God. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)

A Shared Faith

Fellowship is a shared faith, even in the face of opposition. In 1 Samuel 20, we read about the strength of David and Jonathan’s friendship, which was based on their shared faith. Even in the face of opposition, these two men shared a common bond: “The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.” (1 Sam. 20:42) Fellowship between believers is a friendship that stands the test of time, and also provides an encouragement you won’t find in other earthly relationships. “A friend is someone,” said C.S. Lewis, “who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

The Power of Fellowship

Fellowship also equips us with strength in the midst of suffering. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were persecuted for their faith and thrown into the fire, the very man that put them there said,  “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of fire? … I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:24-25) That is the power of fellowship – it’s not just between us as Christians, it’s between us and Christ! We were called into His fellowship! It reminds us that we are not alone.

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other?” asked A.W. Tozer. “They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.” Fellowship doesn’t necessarily mean freedom from disagreements – so long as we’re humans there will be no perfect church – but it is something that we are called to in Christ (Phil. 2). We are called to be likeminded, to be of one accord, of one mind. As Psalm 133 begins, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Originally published as “The Importance of Christian Fellowship.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. September 12, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

Read more about fellowship and the Christian church here.

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Friday

20

December 2019

The Christmas Tree and The Cross

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To truly celebrate Christmas, you can’t have one without the other

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) | The Christmas Tree and The Cross | read more at hopereflected.com

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” Jesus said in John 10:10. By dying on the cross for our sins, Christ paid the ultimate price in order to grant eternal life to anyone who believes in Him.

How is eternal life associated with the Christmas tree?

Have you ever wondered how eternal life is associated with your Christmas tree? Centuries ago, Europeans apparently used evergreen trees as a symbol of eternal life. Years later, evergreen trees such as fir, spruce trees, or pine trees were brought into homes and decorated as a symbol of Christmas – this is a tradition thought to have originated with German Lutherans.

Regardless of your denomination, the Christmas tree is a symbol of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth for one purpose: To save us. He willingly went to the cross and gave His life in order to save us from our sins and to give us eternal life. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Trees referenced throughout Scripture

Trees are referenced so many times throughout the Bible. Two examples of trees used in Scripture that have incredible significance – and ties to Christmas – are the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the cross.  Adam and Eve sinned at the bottom of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when they ate the fruit (Genesis 3:6), and Christ paid for our sins when He gave His life on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).

But it doesn’t end there! Yes, Christ died on the tree, paid the ultimate penalty for our sins, and was resurrected to life three days later. If you choose to put your trust in Christ and believe in His name, you too will have eternal life. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) You just need to trust Him. Your testimony need not be an exciting story; your testimony can be as simple as confessing your sin to Christ and putting your faith in Him.

Why do you celebrate Christmas?

Why do you celebrate Christmas? If you don’t celebrate, ask yourself why not. Christmas is the celebration of our Saviour’s birth, and while the decorations of red and green, the talk of Santa Claus, all the presents, and the food, may hold a certain attraction and enjoyment, true contentment can only be found when you remember the Christmas tree and the cross. To truly celebrate Christmas, you can’t have one without the other. The cross is as integral a part of Christmas as the evergreen that’s standing in your living room. Just because you may not believe doesn’t mean it’s not true. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Originally published as “The Christmas Tree and The Cross.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. December 13, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

22

November 2019

Lead me in the way everlasting

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“As the Lord knows us thoroughly, and we are strangers to ourselves, we should earnestly desire and pray to be searched and proved by his word and Spirit. If there be any wicked way in me, let me see it; and do thou root it out of me. The way of godliness is pleasing to God, and profitable to us; and will end in everlasting life.”  Matthew Henry | Read more at hopereflected.com

Our lives here on earth aren’t separate from our lives after death

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) We often think upon reflection of David’s words in Psalm 139:24 that “lead me in the way everlasting” refers specifically to eternal life, however David was asking for direction for his life on earth.

Our lives here on earth aren’t separate from our lives after death; in fact, the path we choose here on earth will ultimately determine where we’ll live when we die.

The Lord knows us thoroughly

Matthew Henry said in his commentary that, “As the Lord knows us thoroughly, and we are strangers to ourselves, we should earnestly desire and pray to be searched and proved by his word and Spirit. If there be any wicked way in me, let me see it; and do thou root it out of me. The way of godliness is pleasing to God, and profitable to us; and will end in everlasting life.”

The way everlasting isn’t a path we just happen upon; throughout our journey we have to continuously ask God for directions. “Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.” (Psalm 5:8) It’s easy to get tripped up and sidetracked by what the world deems as wise, but the way everlasting is only found by seeking guidance in one place: God’s true and perfect Word. The self-care and do-good beliefs, the world religions, the “influencers” who try to woo us – they are like the teachers that Jude referred to as “wandering stars”. Joseph Benson said of them, “as the planets seem to have a very irregular motion, being sometimes stationary and sometimes retrograde, they are very proper emblems of persons unsettled in their principles, and irregular in their behavior….”

Seek the Lord first

None of us are perfect. We each go through seasons (some lasting longer than others) where we are also unsettled and irregular. The good news is that the way everlasting – on earth and to eternity – isn’t dependent on anything that you or I can do. We will never measure up, none of us will ever reach the righteous standard on our own merit, only God can do that for us – and He did, when He sent His only begotten Son to die so that we can live. Lest you think you’re destitute and too far down the path of darkness to turn around, our Lord has already paid the price to redeem your life from destruction (Psalm 103:4). All you have to do is choose Him.

Let us not be like the “wandering stars” described in Jude 13, “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Rather, let us follow the path of the just, which Proverbs 4:18 describes as, “the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The way everlasting will lead us to the perfect day; eternity. Do you know where you’ll be spending it?

Originally published as “Lead me in the way everlasting.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. August 28, 2019: 7. Print. Web.

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Thursday

17

October 2019

Seeking God’s Counsel

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5 things to remember when seeking God’s counsel

"Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel." (Psalm 73:24) | Read more about seeking God's counsel at hopereflected.com

“And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:” (1 Kings 12:7-8)

We all know how Rehoboam’s reign ended. The importance and impact of heeding wise counsel should never be underestimated. The Bible is filled with the history of men and women who sought wise counsel, and also of those who thought they knew better. Time and time again throughout Scripture we see a similar pattern: Seeking wise counsel is always best.

The book of Proverbs also shares a lot of advice on the subject of seeking wise counsel: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety (11:14), “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (12:15), “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” (19:20), “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (24:6)

Probably the most recognizable Proverb on the topic of seeking wise counsel is found in chapter 3, verses 5 and 6: “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 elders and mature believers are both excellent sources to go to for counsel, but let’s not forget the best source of all for wise counsel: Our Heavenly Father.

God’s counsel is sovereign. “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35)

God’s counsel is eternal. “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)

God’s counsel is reliable. “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” (Psalm 73:24)

He is our Wonderful Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6) and He is great in counsel (32:19). God’s Word stands no matter what – He is faithful and true. Seeking wise counsel? Remember to look to God first.


Want to understand more about seeking God’s counsel? Find out more about how God’s counsel stands here.


Originally published as “Seeking Wise Counsel.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. August 8, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

4

October 2019

The Infallible Word of God

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"The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth away, but the Word of our God shall stand for ever." (Isaiah 40:8) | Read more about the Infallible Word of God on hopereflected.com

Is God’s Word infallible?

Yes! Is God’s Word truly inerrant? Yes! Is the Bible really relevant in this “advanced” world in which we live? Yes! It’s paramount that we have a solid understanding of Scripture, as our understanding of the Bible will directly affect our world view. “Order my steps in thy word,” wrote the Psalmist in Psalm 119:133, “and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”

One of the ways we can be sure of the infallible Word of God is through fulfilled prophecy. “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.” (Isaiah 48:3) Many people don’t realize that when the Bible was written, 27% of the Bible was prophetic (it hadn’t yet come to pass).[1] In Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be born of a virgin, and He was. In Micah 5:2, Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and He was. There are even specific prophecies in Zechariah 9:9 and 11:12-13 that Jesus would ride on a colt into Jerusalem and be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver.

These are just a few examples of prophecies fulfilled concerning our Lord. There are many others, and about additional historical events as well.

God’s Word endures

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8) It doesn’t get much more clear than that. The earth may pass away, but God’s Word will endure (hey, that’s also prophetic). Generation after generation, century after century, God’s Word still stands, and it still proves itself relevant today. The Bible is the best-selling non-fiction book of all time[2], with estimates of more than 5 billion sold. Over no other book have so many people given their lives and been willing to die.

Furthermore, countries were even founded on Biblical principles. The “Dominion” in the name “Dominion of Canada” and the Latin “A mari usque ad mare” (translated “From sea to sea”) on Canada’s coat of arms, are direct references to Psalm 72:8. The Declaration of the United States of America directly addresses God as Creator.

God’s Word stands fast and it will for ever (Psalm 11:8).

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and 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) As Tozer once said, “God’s words are not for me to edit and tinker with, but to believe and obey.”


You can read more about the importance of spending time in God’s Word here.


[1] Bingham, Nathan W. “Fulfilled Prophecy Demonstrates the Divine Inspiration of Scripture.” Ligonier Ministries, 29 June 2016, https://www.ligonier.org/blog/fulfilled-prophecy-demonstrates-divine-inspiration-scripture/

[2] “Best-selling book of non-fiction.” Guiness World Records, https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction/

Originally published as “The Infallible Word of God.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. August 1, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

27

September 2019

God’s Faithfulness

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"Thy faithfulness is unto all generations." (Psalm 119:90) | Read more about God's faithfulness on hopereflected.com

There are no limits to God’s faithfulness

Sometimes we will feel afraid (Psalm 56:3), sometimes we will feel alone and afflicted (Psalm 25:16), and sometimes we will feel brokenhearted and crushed (Psalm 34:18). The Bible contains some truths that make us uncomfortable, including about our own behaviours and human nature.

God’s faithfulness is an enduring melody

One thing that should provide us with great comfort, however, is that in the midst of all our feelings, God’s faithfulness is an enduring melody, and a predominant theme in every part of the Bible. Faithfulness, defined as the quality of being faithful, loyal, or truth (the word faithfulness comes from the Old English word for truth), is referenced many times throughout the Bible.

In the midst of our feelings, it helps to remember the facts. God is bigger than any feeling we could feel, and God is greater than any situation we could ever find ourselves in. The next time you’re afraid, feeling insecure, and you long to be reminded that God will never forsake you, consider what the Bible says about God’s faithfulness.

His faithfulness is great and endures forever

God’s faithfulness is great. “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

God’s faithfulness is forever. “Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.” (Psalm 119:90) You can look back through generations, and there is proof over and over again in the testimonies of the saints that God’s truth endures forever. The Bible is filled with examples of God’s faithfulness to His people. He will never let you down. “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” (Psalm 36:5) There are no limits to God’s faithfulness.

Faithfulness is a part of God’s character

“O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? Or to thy faithfulness round about thee?” (Psalm 89:8) If you want to experience more of God’s faithfulness, you’ve got to get closer to Him. Dig into His Word, commune with Him, and draw nigh to Him. Nothing compares to the faithfulness of God! He won’t fail you. In fact, David – who penned Psalm 89 – goes on in that very Psalm to explain that God’s faithfulness never fails. “Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” (Psalm 89:33)

“Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” (Joshua 23:14) When life hits you head on, head straight to God’s Word and He will reassure you of His faithfulness.

Find encouragement and learn more about God’s faithfulness here.

Originally published as “God’s faithfulness.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. July 25, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

23

September 2019

Our walk with God

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"One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness." (C.S. Lewis) | Read more about our walk with God at hopereflected.com

Beware the bunny trails

“One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness,” C.S. Lewis once said. Recently during a conversation, I commented about getting off topic and going down a “bunny trail,” as I referred to it. How easy it is to veer off course and head down the wrong path, not just in conversation, but in our walk with God as well.

The book of Proverbs is filled with references to pathways and footsteps, walking and ways. The book of Proverbs is widely attributed to Solomon, and each chapter is filled with life hacks that are as relevant to us today as they were a few thousand years ago. “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly,” Solomon wrote, “He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.” (Proverbs 2:7-8)

God preserves our way and keeps our feet

A direct reference to Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel, Proverbs 2:7-8 is an important reminder that it is God Who preserves our way and keeps our feet. In Proverbs 2:13, Solomon wrote that men “…leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.” When we get sidetracked from our walk with God, we head straight into darkness. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18-19) Bunny trails on our walk with God can start out innocently enough; in fact, oft times we don’t even know we’re headed down one. In order to stay on the right path, we have to seek after God to preserve our way and keep our feet.

Our walk with God requires action

Our walk with God requires action. We have to receive God’s words, we have to take to heart His commandments, incline our ears to wisdom, apply our hearts and lift our voices up to understanding, cry after knowledge, seek after Him as silver, search after Him as for hid treasure – we have to act to understand the fear of the LORD and to find the knowledge of God. “For the LORD giveth wisdom,” Proverbs 2:6, “out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

We have to keep our focus on God

It seems so easy in theory, until we try to put it into practice. The readying ourselves for work each day, preparing meals, cleaning house, taking care of the yard – there are endless activities that can convolute our time with God and distract our gaze from the Giver to all that we have to give in order to make a life. Wisdom isn’t something we’re born with; wisdom is a gift from God. “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous,” (Proverbs 2:7). To lay up means to give, which suggests that what wisdom any of us have comes from our walk with God. In our walk with God, we have to purposefully beware the bunny trails and keep our focus on Him if we want Him to preserve our way and keep our feet. As C.S. Lewis once said, “Relying on God has to start all over everyday as if nothing has yet been done.”

Originally published as “Our walk with God.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. July 11, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

20

September 2019

Get thyself Wisdom

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"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." (James 1:5) Wisdom | Read more at hopereflected.com

Wisdom is important as we walk through this life

In the books of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, after Solomon was anointed king, God asked Solomon what He could give to him. “Give me now wisdom and knowledge,” Solomon responds (2 Chronicles 1:10). God grants Solomon’s request. “Because this was in thine heart, and thou has not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself… Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee.” (2 Chron. 1:11-12)

Solomon went on to author most of the chapters found in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs contains many references to wisdom and how important wisdom is as we walk through this life. “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” (Proverbs 4:5)

Rely less on your own knowledge

James 1:5 tells us that “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” Through quiet times spent in prayer and meditating on God’s Word, wisdom starts with God. The key is that you need to spend time with God in order to gain wisdom. As you read more of God’s Word, and consult Him more in daily prayer, you’ll begin to rely less on your own knowledge and more on God’s will. “There are many device’s in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21) As Charles Stanley says, “God will move heaven and earth to show you His will and your obedience to Him will bring greater blessings than your plans could hope to achieve.”

Learn from the godly influence of mature Christians

Wisdom can also be found when you follow the example and learn from the godly influence of mature Christians. An excellent place to start is with your elders. “Is not wisdom found among the aged?” (Job 12:12) Think of the believers in your life who have impacted you through an encouraging word or a strong spiritual example. The Bible is filled with examples of other believers who have lead by example: Joseph in the life of Pharaoh, Elijah in the life of Ahab (Ahab is a great example of what happens when godly wisdom isn’t pursued), Nathan in the life of David, and Jesus in the life of Nicodemus. Look around. You may never know the impact that your testimony has on the lives of those around you.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”

God’s wisdom looks very different from the world’s wisdom. Our finite minds can never comprehend the infinite Creator of the universe. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are different than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Pursuing after wisdom by spending more time reading your Bible, or quieting your soul in prayer may never make sense to someone who has different priorities. In fact, you may even find in your pursuit to get thyself wisdom that others come into opposition. Don’t be discouraged. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). God’s foolishness is wiser than men; and His weakness is stronger than man (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Originally published as “Get thyself wisdom.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. July 4, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

9

September 2019

A Measure of Faith

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"We walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) | Read more at hopereflected.com

While most people are familiar with Hebrews 11 (also known as the Faith chapter of the Bible), the first direct reference of faith in the Bible – at least from my observation – happens much earlier, in Deuteronomy 32, when God says that the children of Israel have no faith.

Faith is a necessary virtue

Faith is much like hope, in that it’s a virtue necessary to believe in God, but it’s something that can only be seen in how we live. D.L. Moody once said that, “Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.” Our faith is demonstrated in the way that we live. “The things which are not seen are eternal,” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:18. That is faith.

Faith is a lifestyle

“The just shall live by faith,” is a statement that repeats twice in Scripture; once in the Old Testament in Habakkuk 2:4, and again in Romans 1:17. Regardless of the season, a lifestyle of faith means that we must keep walking and “continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22) even though such a way of living is not without its challenges. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that, “we walk by faith, not by sight,” and it’s because of our trust in God that we can be confident as we move through life. It’s not in and of ourselves, or our friends, or our earthly establishments – we can be confident because we walk by faith.

Abound in faith

Furthermore, in 2 Corinthians 8:7, we’re called to abound in faith. Abound, meaning to be filled up, to overflow, be abundant, and flourishing. The only way to flourish in your faith is to follow Christ, and follow hard. On our best days, are we really doing that? We fail at living a lifestyle of faith because as humans, it’s our nature to compartmentalize faith, when really faith is too vast to ever be classified or catalogued by our finite minds. We just can’t handle it.

Also important to remember is that the apostles asked our Lord to increase their faith (Luke 17:5), and they were on to something. Inside each one of us is a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). For some, that faith is fleeting (Luke 8:13), and for others that faith is overflowing (Matthew 8:10). D.L. Moody once said that, “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.” The measure of faith inside us is waiting for us to wake up and ask God to grow it, and therein is the difference between fleeting faith and overflowing faith. Faith requires action. Like a garden, your faith will only grow if you plant the proper seeds, provide your soul with regular watering from God’s Word, and keep short accounts with any weeds and pests. 

A lifestyle of faith is a life lived with intention, and with purpose.

Originally published as “Faith.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 30, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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