Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

encouragement Archive

Thursday

29

October 2020

Stirring the pot

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"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.

Share Button

Wednesday

28

October 2020

Trust Issues

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"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.

Share Button

Thursday

17

September 2020

Cast, don’t carry

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"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.

Share Button

Tuesday

11

August 2020

Community

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God." Nehemiah 4:9 | Read more about community at hopereflected.com

Characteristics of a strong community

After giving up his position in the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah served his people as governor in rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. We read all about the rebuilding of the city in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, which presents us with a wonderful example of how prayer, encouragement, and loyalty build a strong community.

“Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God,”

Nehemiah 4:9

When Nehemiah heard of the desolation of Jerusalem and that the city had been left in ruin, he was distraught, and his first reaction was to pray. “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,” (1:4). His city was destroyed, and only a remnant of the people was left. Throughout the book of Nehemiah, the importance of prayer is highlighted. Nehemiah was fervent in prayer; he sought the Lord first, and encouraged his community to do the same.

When we are going through a crisis and we are wearied by world news, is it our instinct as a community to cry out to God in prayer, or are we more apt to rest in our own abilities first? “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God,” (4:9). The Lord led Nehemiah to help rebuild the city, and through prayer Nehemiah and his community persevered.

Encouragement is a vital part of community

Just as prayer is a vital part of community, so is encouragement. Nehemiah encouraged his community to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and even when the going got tough and they faced incredible opposition, he continued to encourage his people. “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (4:14). When Nehemiah and his community came up against scorn and ridicule, instead of getting discouraged, they encouraged each other to keep going. When they were faced with physical opposition, they came together even stronger. “In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.” (4:20).

Do we rally together with our community, ready to serve with our neighbours and encourage those around us? Like discouragement, encouragement is equally contagious. Which do we spread? Despite the huge task before them, Nehemiah and his community encouraged one another.

Impacting a community for future generations

The book of Nehemiah not only shows us how prayer and encouragement can strengthen a community, but also how loyalty can impact a community for future generations. While some may think that rebuilding the city wall was a task reserved for stonemasons or skilled carpenters, in Nehemiah’s community there was a place for every person. Each member demonstrated their loyalty by coming together to see how they could help. “Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.” (3:8). From goldsmiths to perfumers, everyone was committed to getting the job done. Each of us brings a unique gift to our community, and we should be willing to share it with others.

Originally published as “Community.” Independent Plus. March 26, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Wednesday

15

April 2020

Counsellors of Peace

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

Share Button
"Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil, but to the counsellors of peace is joy." (Proverbs 12:20) | Read more at hopereflected.com

“Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil, but to the counsellors of peace is joy.”

Proverbs 12:20

The Bible is filled with verses about peace. We are all familiar with Psalm 34:14, John 16:33, Hebrews 12:14, Colossians 3:15, and more. Perhaps one of the lesser referenced verses on the topic is Proverbs 12:20. Proverbs 12:20 refers to “counsellors of peace”, and that one of the benefits to such people is joy.

Are we counsellors of peace? Are we sowing peace in our relationships, and cultivating the characteristic? It can be hard, especially when there is uncertainty all around. Counsellors of peace are those who promote peace not just in their own lives, but in the lives of others as well. In Gill’s Exposition, he describes counsellors of peace like this:

“…such who consult the good of others, who advise to peace, concord, and unity; who seek to cultivate it in their families and neighbourhoods, and in the church of God…”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

How can we become counsellors of peace, as described in Proverbs 12:20?

  • Rather than fretting about our circumstances, may we find our confidence in God. (Proverbs 14:26)
  • Instead of complaining, may we practice an attitude of gratitude (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • Remember that though we may not understand the timing, we can rest in the fact that God is in control. (Luke 12:22-26)
  • When we are going through challenging and uncertain times, may we remember that nothing is a surprise to God. (Revelation 1:17)

We have peace when we have a relationship with God. In this life, we will never find peace in and of ourselves, but only when we look to Him and His Word.

“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

James 3:18
Share Button

Sunday

12

April 2020

Easter Encouragement

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:25-26) | Easter encouragement from hopereflected.com

From darkness to light

At Easter, may we remember that from darkness and death, God can bring light and life; from sorrow He can bring love, and from thorns He can make a crown. Easter is as much about new life and resurrection as it is about Christ’s death on the cross.

We have so much to rejoice in this Resurrection Sunday. Christ’s resurrection means freedom from Satan’s power. It was meant to open our eyes, to turn us from darkness to His glorious light, “and from the power of Satan unto God,” (Acts 26:18) that we may receive forgiveness from our sins, freedom from bondage, and sanctification by faith. We have no reason to be doom and gloom and down and out, because we can claim the Power of God in us.

Easter: Christ’s resurrection is the catalyst for changed lives

Christ’s resurrection provides the catalyst for changed lives. Because of Him, we are no longer coloured by our past sins and transgressions. When we are crucified with Christ, we die to our past and ourselves, because Christ now lives in us (Galatians 2:20). What a gift! This life we live here on earth, we can live by faith in Him, because He loves us, and because He went to the cross for us. What a praise!

Although hard to fathom, Christ’s resurrection gives us eternal life. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) How wonderful that we can rest in this promise.

The real meaning of Easter

Christ’s resurrection is for us now. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25) Christ’s death and resurrection is open to all who believe, it is not just reserved for those who witnessed it or lived two thousand years ago. No, the Gospel, God’s gift of eternal life, is just as relevant – if not more so – to us today than it was those years ago.

“May the Lord have mercy on us so that we can live a life of being conformed to the death of Christ through the cross,” Witness Lee wrote in his book God’s Economy, “Only those who have passed through death and resurrection can have their eyes opened; they live and walk by the revelation that they have seen.” Without Christ’s resurrection, we would not have the privilege of living the crucified life.

Of all that is and was against us – every sin, every fear, every sorrow, every grief, every earthly affliction, every thing that “was contrary to us” – Christ took it out of the way and nailed it to His cross! This – all His suffering, all His anguish, all His pain, all His torture, all His humiliation, – this was Christ’s triumph (Col. 2:15) and His victory through resurrection!

Praise the Lord, He is the resurrection and the life, and when we believe in Him, though we may die, yet we shall live; “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26)

Originally published as “Easter Encouragement.” Independent Plus. April 9, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Wednesday

1

April 2020

The Furnace of Affliction

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." (Isaiah 48:10) | Read more on hopereflected.com

In the furnace of affliction, God still has His hand on us

In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar threw three Hebrew believers – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, – into a fiery furnace. Remember their words in response? “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us out of thine hand.” (Dan. 3:18) Even when they faced the fiery furnace, they stood firm in their faith. The result was that God was with them – literally! Three men were thrown into the furnace, and king Nebuchadnezzar and his counselors saw four: “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.” (Dan. 3:25)

A furnace of a different kind

It’s not the first time we read about a furnace in Scripture. Earlier in Isaiah, we’re introduced to a furnace of a different kind: “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”(Isaiah 48:10) In this passage about God redeeming the Israelites from the Babylonian captivity, we come to understand that even in His refining of us – which more often than not brings us through trials and trying times – God does not deal so rigorously with us that He neglects to show us His mercy. For even in the furnace of affliction, God still has His hand on us. It can be hard to believe when you’re thrown off your feet, but when we cling to our faith, when He is all that we have, we will find that God is with us. In C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain he writes: “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our consciences, but shouts to us in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

The furnace of affliction has this way of forcing us to look up

The furnace of affliction has this way of forcing us to look up, searching for comfort and seeking relief. Grief, sorrow, sadness, pain – when we are down and out, the best option is to use these times as opportunities to grow. It sounds trite, and when someone says that to you when you’re down, when someone promises that “it will get better,” or “it will get easier,” your first thought may be to say, “You have no idea what I’m going through!” (even when they do). But it does get better, when you go to God’s Word. “For the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” (Isaiah 49:13) There is a bittersweet embrace in reading these words and experiencing their truth.

Matthew Henry wrote of this passage in Isaiah that God’s “bringing men into trouble was to do them good,” and as troubling as we may find this, he is right. Even in the furnace of affliction, when we choose to listen to God and obey His commandments, He gives us peace like a river, and He makes our righteousness as waves of the sea – “Come ye near unto me,” God invites us in Isaiah 48:6. In the furnace of affliction, He is with us, and His Word is the place we find Him.

Originally published as “The furnace of affliction.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. January 16, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Tuesday

31

March 2020

3 Bible verses to help anxiety

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

Share Button

God’s Word is filled with encouragement for the weary soul, and it is filled with wisdom to help us deal with anxiety, insecurity, and worry.

We could all use more calm for our souls, and the best place to find peace and calm is the Bible.

While there are many more than just three Bible verses to help people with anxiety, these are three I recall to mind when I’m anxious, worried, and need reassurance. They’re easy verses to memorize, and they are an amazing encouragement and reminder that God cares for us and He wants His best for us!

1. Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

Anxiety often brings with it feelings of restlessness, an inability to calm down, and an overwhelming number of thoughts. This is precisely the time that we need to remember to “be still”. “Be still, and know that I am God,” we read in Psalm 46:10. He is God. He is in control. We need only to be still. When I’m experiencing feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, or even having trouble sleeping, this is one of the verses of which I remind myself.

"Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10) | Bible verses for anxiety | Read more at hopereflected.com

2. Psalm 40:5

“Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” (Psalm 40:5)

God’s thoughts toward us are more than we can number. What an encouragement to calm anxiety. God’s thoughts toward us are thoughts of love and of peace. He does not wish for us to be harmed. Psalm 40:5 reminds me of 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.” Or what about Matthew 10:29-30, “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.”

Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (Psalm 40:5) | Bible verses for anxiety | Read more at hopereflected.com

3. Isaiah 26:3

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

When you’re looking for Bible verses to help anxiety, Isaiah 26:3 is a great source of strength. Perfect peace is found only in one place, and that’s with our Heavenly Father. How can we keep our mind stayed on Him? By getting into God’s Word and memorizing Scripture! Another way to alleviate feelings of anxiety or stress is to recite Scripture. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Memorize it, claim it, believe it, repeat it. Peace is possible with God.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3) | Bible verses for anxiety | Read more at hopereflected.com
Share Button

Monday

30

March 2020

When things don’t turn out as we planned

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in 1765 about the best laid schemes of mice and men in his poem, “To a Mouse”. In the poem, written after Burns accidentally turned up a mouse’s nest with his plough, Burns considers the mouse more fortunate than he, because “The present only toucheth thee,”. Being human, Burns could not only see his present, he could look back and see his past, and though he couldn’t see the future, he could fret and worry about it.

God has a plan

It seems that not much has changed in the last two hundred and fifty-five years. So often, we spend our time fretting and worrying about the future that we miss out on what God has for us in the present. That’s not to say that planning ahead is a bad thing; on the contrary, the Bible tells us that planning for the future is wise (Proverbs 21:5). The key is, that rather than spend our time worrying, or getting discouraged when things don’t turn out as we planned, we should make a determined effort to direct our focus to God.

David wrote in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Regardless of his circumstances or the events happening around him, David purposed to set the Lord always before him. Before we make decisions, we should pray; as Anne Graham Lotz puts it, it is always to our benefit to be “pre-prayered” for whatever we face in life.

His plan is bigger than ours

We should also remember that even though we may plan things down to the tiniest detail, sometimes God has a different plan, and His plans are always the best for us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) We may not understand why He allows heartache and woes; but when we trust Him, we can understand that God always has a plan, and He always has His best for us in mind. “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Where is your faith?” Jesus asked the disciples this in Luke 8:25 after He saved them from a storm on the water. When the wind and waters rage, who do we trust, and where do we turn? We should trust God, and turn our eyes to Him. When things don’t turn out as we planned, we can still rest in Him. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

He is the first and the last, He knows our past, present, and He holds the future. He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Originally published as “When things don’t turn out how we plan.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. January 9, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Friday

27

March 2020

Thoughts around thankfulness

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” (G.K. Chesterton) | Read more at hopereflected.com

We should get in the habit of gratitude

A.W. Tozer once said that, “gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God. And it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.” We often read throughout the Bible about the importance of thankfulness in our every day lives, but the reality is that most of us are more quick to take our blessings for granted than to show gratitude.

Thankfulness is an attitude

Thankfulness need not be an elaborate planned event – such as the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate each year – thankfulness is something that once a spark is created, can turn into an ever-burning fire. It’s an attitude that we can cultivate, regardless of the time of year.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,”. Consider your own thoughts for a moment. How often do we think of a particular someone throughout the day: A spouse, mother, father, child, sister, brother, niece, nephew, or even our co-workers? Chances are, we think of several or all of the aforementioned many times throughout the day. And yet, how often do we give thanks for them? Paul wrote that he thanked God on every remembrance of his friends. A prayer of thanks, no matter how short, so long as it is genuine, is heard by God.

Thankfulness is our duty

An attitude of gratitude is part of our calling as Christians. Did you know we have a duty to thankfulness? Paul wrote in his second letter to the church at Thessalonica that, “we are bound to give thanks always to God for you,” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). We are bound to give thanks! Despite the second epistle to the Thessalonians being written after a somewhat discouraging description of coming events, Paul exhorts fellow believers that we should be thankful to God for all His blessings and for what He has called us to. He is our Comforter, our Rock, our Buckler, our High Tower, our Salvation! His blessings are everlasting.

Not only should thankfulness be part of the Christian’s character, it’s something we should do unceasingly. We’re all familiar with 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “pray without ceasing,” and for some reason we don’t as easily remember the other “cease not” counsel found in Ephesians 1:15-16: “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;” We should cease not to give thanks. We should get in the habit of gratitude.

“Thanks are the highest form of thought”

Small utterances of praise throughout the day can make all the difference in your life.  As G.K. Chesterton said, “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say, grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and the pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Originally published as “Thoughts around thankfulness” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. November 28, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button