Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

encouragement Archive

Sunday

1

April 2018

He is Risen | Easter | Resurrection Sunday

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"He is risen, as He said." Matthew 28:6 | See more at hopereflected.com

He is risen! Wishing you a blessed Easter. Happy Resurrection Sunday!

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Matthew 28:1-7

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Tuesday

20

March 2018

Encouragement | Easter Meditation on Isaiah 53:3

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He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. | See more at hopereflected.com

Encouragement | Easter Meditation on Isaiah 53:3

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3

With Holy Week starting next Sunday, this week I’m meditating over Isaiah 53 and the New Testament Scriptures that detail the history of our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Jesus was despised, rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, despised. We hid our faces from him, and we esteemed him not.

Psalm 22:6 says, “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” Jesus was despised. He was rejected. He was the man of sorrows. He was acquainted with grief.

If you’re sad, discouraged, down, or depressed, remember this: Jesus has already been through it all. He has been through the deepest grief, and He has felt more sorrow than you will ever know.

We’re told in Hebrews 4:15 that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are….” Jesus knows every aspect of the feeling of your infirmities. He completely understands the depths of your debilitating depression and your grief. You know why? Because He’s been there!

Jesus was in the world, in fact He made the world, and the world knew Him not (John 1:10). If you’re longing for significance, or looking for an answer, I encourage you to look to the Lord. He went to the cross for you. He wants to know you personally. Call out to Him, and He will hear you.

“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” (Psalm 105:4)

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3

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Monday

19

March 2018

Encouragement | Isaiah 53:3-7

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"The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6 | See more at hopereflected.com

Next week marks the beginning of Holy Week, and as we head into this Easter season, I’m meditating on our Lord and what He took on for us, all so we can have eternal life. I woke up Sunday morning with the hymn “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!” stuck in my head, and as Wes and I read through Mark 15 where Jesus stands before Pilate, I realized how casually we often read through the account of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Really there are no words to fully describe or illustrate what Jesus went through leading up to and on and after the cross. This weekend, the passage of scripture found in Isaiah 53 struck me in a new way. I went through and underlined how Isaiah describes what happened to our Lord.

Isaiah 53:3-7 reads [emphasis my own]:

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Despised, rejected, man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, carried our sorrows, stricken, smitten of God, afflicted, wounded, bruised, chastised, oppressed, afflicted, brought as a lamb to the slaughter — our Lord endured it all, all so we can have eternal life.

Wherever you are, and whatever you’re going through, Jesus has already been through it all for you.

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Friday

23

February 2018

Hope Reflected | Lessons from the honey bee

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No matter who you are, and no matter where you are, God can use you. | Lessons from the honey bee | See more at hopereflected.com

Lessons we can learn from the honey bee

Birds, bats, wind, and even water can act as pollinators, but perhaps the most interesting of all the pollinators is the honey bee. Such an intricate creation, the honey bee is small but mighty. The honey bee plays a very important role here on earth!

We can draw many parallels between honey bees and Christians. The honey bee spreads seeds; so do Christians. The honey bee has a mission; so do Christians. The honey bee doesn’t always see the results of what it sows; neither do Christians. Sometimes, only the Lord sees the harvest. We may never know the results of our labours. But does that mean that we should stop working for Him? No!

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Your words may be awkward. Your prayers may be meager. Your testimony may not be the most dramatic or exciting. No matter who you are, and no matter where you are, God can use you. In fact, sometimes it’s the most ordinary of people that God uses to do the most extraordinary things for His glory!

The honey bee isn’t concerned about whether it’s the strongest flyer, or whether it pollinates the most plants; no, the honey bee concentrates on the job at hand and remains focused. That’s how we need to be in our Christian walk. Keeping our focus always on the Lord.

There are other lessons we can learn from the small but mighty honey bee:

Learn how to adapt. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) Just as the honey bee knows how to adapt – honey bees can go for years without hunting by living on their food reserves – we as Christians also need to learn how to adapt to what’s going on in the world around us. Read: I’m not saying we conform to this world, but rather that we “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) Christians need to learn how to adapt and survive in a world where Christians are being held more and more accountable for what we believe.

Learn how to help others. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17) Honey bees are social creatures. They don’t work alone. They help each other. What have you done to help another soul recently? Perhaps you’re working anonymously in the background, giving to causes that assist those in need. Maybe you dedicate your spare hours to volunteering. You could even be serving by encouraging the people in your community. As Christians, we are called to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Learn how to give your life for Christ’s glory. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35) Honey bees give their life for the hive. The honey bee, by nature, is a defender. And when one honey bee’s stinger detaches from its body, it releases pheromones that inspire other honey bees to do the same and go on defense. I’m not suggesting that Christians should always be on the defensive (but sometimes!), rather I’m suggesting that as Christians we should be completely surrendered to Christ, wherever we are. For some Christians, the idea of giving up your life is quite literal, depending where you live in world. For others, giving up your life for Christ could mean complete and total dedication to serving the Lord. The reality is that we’re all missionaries, right here at home, even if we’re not called to full-time service.

Learning to adapt, helping others, and finding your purpose are all things we can glean from the honey bee. I also love what Ilan Shamir says in his “Advice from a honey bee”: Create a buzz, sip life’s sweet moments, mind your own beeswax, work together, always find your way home, stick close to your honey, bee yourself! “You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.” (Acts 2:28)

Originally published as “Lessons we can learn from the honey bee.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. December 14, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

9

February 2018

Hope Reflected | Time with God: Seeking God

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Seeking God "Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face evermore!" (Psalm 105:4) | See more at hopereflected.com

Time with God: Seeking God

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been journaling about the references David made in the book of Psalms about seeking the Lord. David was a model of what it is to truly spend time with God. While he was incredibly flawed – hey, what it is to be human, right? – David was also incredibly close to our Lord. While we can learn from many positive examples of how David sought the Lord, here are three that really stand out to me: 

Seek God early. “O God, You are my God; early will I seek you.” (Psalm 63:1) Seeking God early: If you’re not a morning person, I can understand why you’d struggle with this. Reading through the Psalms however, there are so many encouraging verses about the value of seeking God early in the day. It’s such a viable point that David references it at least nine times that I can see in just one book of the Bible. “My voice you shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” (Psalm 5:3) Beyond just early in the day, it’s also important that we seek God early: Before making important decisions, before addressing problems, before we interact with others, before we leave the house. Early doesn’t just reference the morning; it references seeking God diligently and earnestly before making decisions (1 Kings 22:5). I’m no scholar, but the same Hebrew word for “early” used in Psalm 63:1 is also used in Psalm 78:34, “they sought Him, and returned and searched diligently for God.”

Seek God often. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!” (Psalm 105:4) Some versions of the Bible replace the word “evermore” with the word “continually” or “always”. We are to seek the Lord continually, to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17). Maybe for you seeking the Lord often means praying during your daily commute. Perhaps it’s communing with him while you’re out for a walk, or sitting at your desk, or while you’re making dinner. Wherever you are, seek Him! God is always with us, and we’re told in Proverbs 8:17 that those who seek the Lord diligently (read: Often) will find Him. You may think you don’t have time for God, but the key to seeking God often isn’t us making time; it’s making God part of everything that we do. After all, in Him we live and breathe and have our being. “In God we boast all day long, and praise your name forever. Selah.” (Psalm 44:8)

Seek God every day. “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” (Psalm 27:4) Each day brings with it new challenges and new opportunities. And no matter what the day brings, we are to seek God every day. What a challenge! We aren’t just to seek Him when we feel good, or when the circumstances suit us; we are to seek Him every day. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16) Whether the day is terrific or troubling, we should seek God every day (Psalm 50:15).

David was in no way a perfect man, and I think that’s part of what makes his testimony so relatable – he was human, just as we are, and yet we witness him demonstrate so many times through God’s Word ways that we should seek God. When we earnestly seek after God, He seeks after us. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Originally published as “Time with God: Seeking God.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 16, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

6

February 2018

Encouragement | Psalm 107:9 | He Satisfies the Longing Soul

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"For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." (Psalm 107:9) Contentment | See more at hopereflected.com

“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9)

Contentment. You’ve likely heard the saying, “comparison is the thief of joy“. Similarly, comparison is also the thief of contentment. It’s not until you learn to love what you have that you’ll learn to be content.

David wrote Psalm 107 as a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Thanksgiving is a huge key to contentment. I love Psalm 107:9, which reads: “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” You know that feeling of satisfaction when you’re really thirsty, and you take a drink from a nice, tall glass of water? Or what about when you’ve working all day with little or no time to break for food, and you sit down to enjoy one of your favourite meals?

Having a relationship with God has a similar effect. Only God can satisfy the deepest longings of your soul, and only He can fill your hungry soul with goodness.

If you’re looking for true contentment, consider these suggestions:

  • Keep your eyes on God
  • Give thanks, to God for all He’s blessed you with, and to others when they impact your life
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Focus on the things that have eternal value rather than earthly value

The next time you catch yourself longing, look to God. Only He can satisfy the longing soul and fill the hungry soul with goodness. You’ll only ever be truly content when you know the Lord as your Saviour.

“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9)

 

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Thursday

18

January 2018

5 verses for when you feel insecure

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It’s inevitable that at some point in your life or another, you’re going to feel insecure. Today I’ve curated 5 verses for when you feel insecure, that are great reminders to call to mind when you need real reassurance. The Bible is filled with verses to encourage our hearts when we go through periods of insecurity and unsteady waters. I hope these Bible verses will be a strength to you and a reminder that no matter where you’re at, and no matter what you’re going through, God has His eyes on you, and He cares for you.

Bible verses for when you feel insecure Psalm 139:17-18 | See more at hopereflected.com

1. Psalm 139: 17-18 “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

 

Verses for when you feel insecure (Matthew 10:29-31) | See more at hopereflected.com

2. Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

 

Verses for when you feel insecure (Jeremiah 29:11) | See more at hopereflected.com

3. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

 

Verses for when you feel insecure (Jeremiah 1:5) | See more at hopereflected.com

4. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you….”

 

Verses for when you feel insecure (Genesis 1:27) | See more at hopereflected.com

5. Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

 

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Thursday

7

December 2017

Encouragement | Stand firm in the faith

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"Do everything in love." 1 Corinthians 16:13 | See more at hopereflected.com

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

In the day we live in, it can be so difficult to stand firm in the faith. Right is considered wrong; tolerance is considered accepting only one side of the story.

Whether or not you think your opinion is being stepped on or thrown out, and whether you think your side of the story is or isn’t being accepted, we’re called in 1 Corinthians to the following:

  • To be on guard
  • To stand firm in the faith
  • To be courageous
  • To be strong
  • To do everything in love

Note how the thought finishes: “Do everything in love.” In love. Not in pride. Not in arrogance. Not in superiority. In love.

Whether it’s a difference of opinion with a family member or co-worker, or a political divide with a friend, or even a disagreement with a church member, remember to do everything in love.

Love doesn’t mean weakness. Love doesn’t mean backing down. Love doesn’t mean caving to another’s opinion just to appease them. Love is standing up for God’s truth, doing what’s right, and caring enough to share your faith with others.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

 

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Tuesday

24

October 2017

Encouragement | Zechariah 4:6

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Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, said the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6 | See more at hopereflected.com

“Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

When we give God our weakness, He will give us His strength. Too often we take for granted and don’t recognize the realities of having a relationship with God. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Zerubbabel was reminded not to be discouraged by his weakness, but to be encouraged and to rely and remember the Lord’s strength. That’s exactly what we need to learn to do more in our day to day lives.

How often do we go through the motions of life, relying on our own power and knowledge, rather than resting in the Lord’s strength and wisdom?

Zechariah 4:6 is a challenge and a great reminder to rest in the Lord’s strength and wisdom! We won’t succeed in our own strength, but rather when we truly set our focus on Him!

“Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

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Thursday

19

October 2017

Encouragement | 1 Peter 5:10

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God will strengthen and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10 | See more at hopereflected.com

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Not only do we serve the God of all grace as 1 Peter 5:10 describes Him, we are reassured of our Lord’s countless virtues so many times throughout scripture (check out Psalm 18 if you’re looking for an example).

The God of all grace — God is compassionate, full of mercy and truth, long-suffering (Psalm 86:15). He provides stillness and peace (Isaiah 26:3).

He has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus — The Saviour of the world has personally invited us to His eternal glory. I’m not sure that we will ever be able to fully comprehend just how amazing that is!

After you have suffered a while — When you accept Jesus as your Saviour, you’re not guaranteed a life without pain or suffering. In fact, no wore than ever, Christians are persecuted for what they believe. Suffering is a part of this life. Just remember that this life on earth is only the beginning; I think we could all use the reminder to live with eternity in mind.

If you’re looking for encouragement today, consider the above, and consider these encouraging facts from 1 Peter 5:10:

  • God will perfect you (Psalm 138:8)
  • God will establish you (Proverbs 16:3)
  • God will strengthen you (Philippians 4:13)
  • God will settle you (Exodus 14:14)

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

 

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