Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

encouragement Archive

Thursday

17

October 2019

Seeking God’s Counsel

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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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

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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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

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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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

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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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

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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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

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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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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Friday

23

August 2019

God is our Rock, our firm foundation

Written by , Posted in Christian Living

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"There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2:2) | God is our Rock | Read more at hopereflected.com

There are no two rocks the same

While there are guaranteed to be valleys as you journey through life, there are also going to be mountains that you have to climb in order to grow in to the person God wants you to be. It’s important to remember as you’re climbing that God is our Rock.

I don’t know much about mountain or rock climbing, but what I do understand from my friends who climb and hike is that more often than not, how you get to the top is just as important and significant as the view you see when you reach the peak. Also important is what you’re using as your foundation.

God is our Rock referred to in Scripture

In the Psalms alone, God is referred to as a “rock” more than twenty times. There are also many illustrations of rocks throughout Scripture. In Deuteronomy 32:13, we read about the honey from the rock; in Exodus 17:6 about Moses striking the rock at Horeb to provide water to drink; in Isaiah 32:2 that the great rock provides shadow and protection in the desert; and of course we’re all familiar with the parable of the man who built his house on the rock (Luke 6:48).

In the cleft of the rock

Fanny Crosby, the famous hymn writer, wrote the classic hymn, He Hideth My Soul. “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, where rivers of pleasure I see. He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, that shadows a dry, thirsty land… He covers me there with His hand.” God is our Rock, the greatest rock, is also our greatest source of protection. He’s also the foundation on which we build our lives. Without the proper foundation, nothing can be built correctly. In Psalm 40:2 David wrote, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”

Neither is there any rock like our God

Rocks can be precious stones. In 1 Peter 2:4, Peter refers to Christ as “a living stone,” that was rejected by men, “but chosen by God and precious to him.” How often we as humans are quick to discard what we don’t see as beautiful on the surface. God, Who looked at us in all our imperfection, chose you and I, to polish us, refine us, and bring us forth as gold. (Job 23:10) Rocks are fascinating things. No matter the shape, size, or even the colouring, there are no two rocks the same. “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2)

Interested in reading more about how God is our rock? Check out my column, “The Rock” for more encouragement about our firm foundation.

Originally published as “Rocks.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 23, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

20

August 2019

Practical ways to live your faith

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"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Practical ways to live your faith | Read more at hopereflected.com

Sometimes it’s the things we don’t say that have the biggest impact

Sometimes it is the things that we don’t say that have the biggest impact on the lives of others. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” is very true, especially when it comes to living out your faith. Your peers aren’t interested in how you are on Sunday; however, they will notice if how you are on Sunday is different than the other days of the week. We shouldn’t be any different on Wednesday or Thursday than we are on the Sabbath.

So what are some practical ways to live your faith?

Practical ways to live your faith

Be kind

Be kind. As early as the book of Genesis, we read about the virtue of kindness. In Genesis 24, we read about Abraham’s servant praying that the Lord will show kindness to Abraham. This theme of kindness carries through the Old Testament, in the histories of Joseph, Joshua, Ruth, David, Esther, Jonah, and into the New Testament. Kindness is a very practical way to live your faith. We’re instructed many times in the Bible to show kindness to others, “…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12). And it’s no wonder, as kindness is one of God’s many beautiful attributes (Titus 3:4). As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Live your faith by being humble

There’s also humility, and we all know that being humble is hard to do. We get caught up in who’s right, who should get credit, and who deserves to come out on top, but as Ezra Taft Benson once said, “Pride is concerned with who is right, humility is concerned with what is right.” Many times throughout the epistles, Paul encourages Christians to be humble, which indicates to me that humility is important, and also something that we need to be constantly reminded about. In Ephesians 4:2, Paul writes that we should walk worthy, “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” With all lowliness and meekness, not just some, not just when it’s convenient, not just when you don’t have a vested interest in the outcome of a situation. Humility is a habit, and it’s another practical way of living your faith.

Practice patience

Patience, or longsuffering as Paul calls it, is another practical way of living your faith. Psalm 37:7 says that we should “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for him;” and whoever said waiting isn’t work clearly wasn’t doing it right. Aristotle once said that, “patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Scripture shows us that we should demonstrate patience in many areas of our lives: In decisions (Psalm 37:7), in afflictions and trials (Romans 12:12), in love (1 Corinthians 13:4), in doing good (Galatians 6:9), even with one another (Ephesians 4:2). If you’re tempted to lose patience, just remember how patient God is with you. Don’t lose heart! You can be a living demonstration of God’s power when you learn to practice patience. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Faither which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Kindness, humility, and patience are just a few of the practical ways that to live your faith.  

Originally published as “Practical ways to live your faith.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 9, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

16

August 2019

Don’t be conformed, be transformed

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"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2) | Read more at hopereflected.com

We can learn a lot from the monarch butterfly

For the past few years, Wes and I have tried to garden with pollinators in mind. We’ve specifically sought out plants that we understand to be attractive to monarch butterflies. Milkweed, elderberry, and zinnias are a few. This year, we’ve added to our collection with American plum trees, through our community’s pollinator-friendly plant sale.

Wes and I have both always loved monarch butterflies. Call them the ugly duckling or the little engine that could, but whether considering the butterfly’s transition from caterpillar to butterfly, or its annual cross-continental journey, we can learn a lot from the monarch.  

The monarch butterfly goes through multiple stages of metamorphosis as it grows from larva to caterpillar and then to its final form as the formidable butterfly. Through each of these stages, we don’t see the monarch compare itself to the creatures around it; it just grows where the Lord has placed it. The monarch concentrates on its development rather than making comparisons. Galatians 6:4 tells us, “Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

Concentrate on development rather than making comparisons

Don’t compare yourself to others. Where they’re at on their walk has nothing to do with you, and we all know that comparison is the thief of joy. Career, education, children, finances, and even your spiritual growth – these are all areas in which we’re tempted to make comparisons to others. In moments when you find yourself making comparisons, remember this: You are an individual, one of God’s unique creations. “Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:73)

Keep your eyes on the Lord

By not comparing itself to others, the monarch butterfly is able to concentrate on the purpose for which God intended it. Through its various stages of development, the focus of the butterfly is on the work at hand. “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” (Proverbs 4:25-26)

When priorities are competing, plans are challenging, and people are comparing, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Spiritual growth requires a great deal of focus on God’s Word, a dedication to time alone with Him, and an earnest desire to serve the Lord. When you truly long to live God’s will for your life, you can be sure that the devil will try darn hard to distract you. Stay strong, and remain focused. The psalmist said in Psalm 1 that we should meditate on God’s Word day and night. Keep your eyes on the Lord. (Hebrews 12:2)

Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus

The monarch butterfly is committed to the long game, and each of us would do well to learn from that type of determination. The monarch makes its migration every year from southern Ontario deep into parts of Mexico. That’s commitment! Think of the adversity that such a small creation could encounter throughout its cross-continental journey – from hungry animals and traveling cars to adverse weather and weary wings – and yet it presses on.

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) Are we in it for the long haul, like the apostle Paul said? Are we forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things before, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? (Phil. 3:13-14) Or are we looking for earthly glory and exploring our own self-interests?

For God’s good, true, and perfect will, don’t be conformed, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)

Originally published as “Don’t be conformed, be transformed.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 2, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

12

August 2019

Trusting Christ in Every Circumstance

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"For I am the LORD, I change not." (Malachi 3:6) | Trusting Christ in every circumstance | Read more at hopereflected.com

Because He never changes, we can trust Christ in every circumstance

We can trust Christ in every circumstance because He never changes. “For I am the LORD, I change not,” we read in Malachi 3:6. The writer of Hebrews also encourages us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Nothing on this earth stays the same, things are always changing, and that includes your circumstances and the situations you find yourself living through. Prayer is a big part of trusting God in every circumstance. C.S. Lewis once said that, “prayer doesn’t change God; it changes us.” What a comforting thought to remember. Even when every thing around us seems to be changing, God never does.

We can trust Christ because of His character

Trusting Christ in every circumstance is also possible because of His character. According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” We know from the Bible that God is omniscient (He knows everything), omnipresent (He is always with us), and omnipotent (He is all-powerful), and He is strong, He is trustworthy, He is our fortress, our rock, and our deliverer. In Psalm 18, David calls on God’s attributes for his help, and this is often a portion of Scripture that I recall to mind for encouragement and as a reminder of who God really is. Even in our best moments, our character cannot compare to the character of God.

Finding our confidence in Christ

It’s because of His character that we can be confident in Him, which is another component of trusting Christ in every circumstance. Too often, we rely on our finite understanding when it comes to making decisions and navigating through life. We’d save ourselves so much heartache if we truly learned to live verses like Proverbs 3:5-6, “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.” When you really stop and consider, it seems silly that we would rest in our own limited understanding when we can trust the Creator of the universe. Psalm 37 encourages us to trust Christ in every circumstance by fretting not, delighting in Him, committing our way to Him, and resting in Him. Psalm 37 also details the results of trusting Christ in every circumstance: “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) In every circumstance, He shall bring it to pass.

Where is your hope, and where is your confidence? Christ’s grace is sufficient, and His mercy is abundant. What playbook are you following as you walk through this life? As C.S. Lewis said, “There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you would not take His advice.”

Originally published as “Trusting Christ in Every Circumstance.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. April 25, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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