Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

encouragement Archive

Thursday

7

October 2021

Sent into stormy seas

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Even the most experienced among us will at times struggle through the storm. The disciples at least kept rowing; do we? | Read more at hopereflected.com

“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.” (Matthew 14:21)

When we read the account of Jesus walking on the water, we usually focus on the miracle itself, and Peter’s attempt to come meet Him. We don’t always consider how the disciples got out into the storm-tossed sea in the first place.

After the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus instructed His disciples to get into a ship and to go before Him to the other side of the sea. “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples,” we read in Matthew 14. Other versions of the Bible say that Jesus “made the disciples” get in the ship (NIV), and that Jesus “insisted” that His disciples go on before Him (MSG). Our all-knowing God sent His disciples out into the sea when He knew there was a storm coming and that the water would be rough. God is not surprised by the storms that we encounter, or by any clouds under which we’re living that just seem to keep lingering and pouring on us day after day.

"And he saw the toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary to unto them:" (Mark 6:48a) | Read more of Sent into stormy seas on hopereflected.com

The disciples weren’t inexperienced boaters

These were men among whom were true fishermen, making their living on the water. They would have been accustomed to unsettled waters and known how to handle the ship when it was “tossed with waves” (Matt. 14:24). We read in Mark however that Jesus saw the disciples “toiling in rowing,” (Mark 6:48). Even the most experienced among us will at times struggle through the storm. The disciples at least kept rowing; do we? Joseph Benson wrote, “Though the wind was contrary, and they were tossed with the waves, yet being ordered by their Master to the other side, they did not tack about and come back again, but made the best of their way forward.”

How do we make the best of the way forward when we’re in the middle of the storm?

Like the disciples, we keep pressing on. When the disciples were stuck on the sea in the storm, “they willingly received him into the ship” (John 6:21). It’s integral as we keep going to draw on the Lord’s strength, that we willingly receive Him into our ship. Relying on our own strength will only lead to self-destruction. 

"Though the wind was contrary, and they were tossed with the waves, yet being ordered by their Master to the other side, they did not tack about and come back again, but made the best of their way forward." Joseph Benson | Read more of Sent into stormy seas on hopereflected.com

“The world can create trouble in peace,

but God can create peace in trouble.”

Thomas Watson

Puritan preacher Thomas Watson said that “If God be our God, He will give us peace in trouble. When there is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.” When we’re being tossed about in the heart of raging waters and stormy seas, to say it’s hard to keep our focus on Him rather than the waves is an understatement. And yet, this is what we are called to do. In the middle of the storm, God says to us, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” (Matt. 14:27). He who sends us into stormy seas will provide a way through.

Originally published as “Sent into stormy seas.” Independent Plus. May 13, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

15

September 2021

The gift of grace

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"Just as a careful gardener will stand over a plant that needs water, and will pour water on the surface until the earth has drunk it up, and then add a little more; so He gives step by step, grace for grace, an uninterrupted bestowal, yet regulated according to the absorbing power of the heart that receives it." Alexander MacLaren | Read more on hopereflected.com

“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16)

Whether exercising, consuming too much salt, or working out in the heat of the summer, there are times when we get really thirsty for a glass of water. We drink until we’re satisfied, or until we’re thirsty again, and our bodies absorb all the water we need. Clean drinking water is important, and even more so is the body’s ability to absorb water.

So what does any of this have to do with grace?

Just as absorption is an important aspect for our physical health, it’s even more important when it comes to spiritual virtues. In his Expositions of Holy Scripture, Alexander MacLaren wrote that, “Just as a careful gardener will stand over a plant that needs water, and will pour the water on the surface until the earth has drunk it up, and then add a little more; so He gives step by step, grace for grace, an uninterrupted bestowal, yet regulated according to the absorbing power of the heart that receives it.”

Grace is a quality that we can grow in. Read more on hopereflected.com

Grace is a quality that we can grow in

This is great news for those of us who have a grace deficiency! “But grow in grace,” Peter encourages believers, “and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18). Earlier in 2 Peter, he writes that with growth comes fruitfulness (2 Peter 1:8). If we are ever feeling less than productive in our relationships with God and one another, we ought to do a check on the absorbing power of our heart. While our personal preference would have us do unto others as we think they deserve, we ought rather to give what is not deserved, just as God gives to us.

Grace is a gift that we don't absorb or appreciate as we should. Read more on hopereflected.com

Like many of the physical things that we take for granted every day – getting out of bed in the morning, blue skies and the freedom to walk outside, and even our very breath – grace is one of those spiritual virtues that we don’t “absorb” or appreciate as we should.

Hope Reflected

More great news about the gift of grace

More great news about the gift of grace is that it is something that we can abound in. To abound means not just to be full, but to be overflowing, not just to survive, but to thrive. Certainly this is not possible in and of ourselves – that would completely defeat the original purpose of grace – but overflowing grace is possible with God. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

In order for us to abound in grace, we must be willing to give it away. As Matthew Henry said, “God gives not only enough for ourselves, but that also wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and this should be as seed to be sown.” If we want to live lives with grace abounding, we need to be prepared to live lives that demonstrate grace faithfully and consistently to others.

Originally published as “The gift of grace.” Independent Plus. May 6, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

7

September 2021

A very present help

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"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) Read more of "A very present help" on hopereflected.com

Think about something that is always with you

No matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, even your own shadow disappears when it’s completely dark. David wrote in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” In an ever-changing world filled with dark times and uncertainties, what a privilege to have a very present help.

The Hebrew text for “a very present help” is translated as “a help found exceedingly,” or “tried very much”. God is always with you and His help is always immediately available. In his Treasury of David, Spurgeon wrote that God “has been tried and proved by his people. He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, truly, effectually, constantly; he is present or near them, close at their side and ready for their succour, and this is emphasized by the word very in our version, he is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself.”

Do we believe this to be true? If so, why aren’t we living like we believe it? Luther believed it, and he lived it. It is from Psalm 46 that he penned the powerful hymn, “A mighty fortress is our God”. “And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us…”.

We need to keep our eyes on Christ at all times

When earth’s waters are roaring and troubled as they are now, it can be difficult to see how His truth will triumph through us. We need great courage to stay above water, and it is not in our own strength that we can do that. Anyone can act bold and get out of the boat as Peter did, but it takes big faith and absolute confidence, eyes on Christ at all times, to stay on top of the water. Only He can lead us to the rock and provide a firm foundation for our footing.

We don’t have to fear when we can call upon God as our rock, our mighty fortress, and our deliverer. (Psalm 18)

Hope Reflected

It makes a great difference if our foundation is floating or if our foundation is firm. David’s words are ours to share when we have Christ as our foundation. “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” (46:3). We don’t have to fear when we can call upon God as our rock, our mighty fortress, and our deliverer (Ps. 18).

Were it not for hard seasons, we wouldn’t be able to claim God as our refuge and strength. Spurgeon said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.” When we consider the content of the Bible, we realize that our history is filled with impossible situations and trying times. The accounts of believers before us are not without hardships, and they are not without hope. Though the times have changed, and the troubles may differ, God remains our refuge and strength, a very present help.

Originally published as “A very present help.” Independent Plus. April 29, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Sunday

5

September 2021

Believe to see

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"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of living." (Psalm 27:13) Read more on hopereflected.com

In our current circumstances

Many are wondering what God’s purpose and plan is in our current circumstances. It would seem that people are more discouraged and down than we’ve ever seen in our time. We are living through a period where God has permitted us to be put into places and positions where we feel completely alone. Could it be that one of His reasons for this is so that we will realize that we are armed with His presence and power?

Enduring such adversities

Lest we think we’ve got it worse today, consider a man whose life was filled with its share of tribulation. Adultery, murder, death of loved ones, living on the run with no home, at odds with his family to the point that they were trying to kill him, relationally challenged to the point that his foes sent armies after him to kill him, “I had fainted,” David says in Psalm 27:13. You think? David’s life was hard! How could anyone endure such adversities? “I had fainted,” David continues, “unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13).

David did two things that we so desperately need to do right now: He believed to see, and he focused on the goodness of the Lord. Read more on hopereflected.com

Believe and focus

David did two things that we desperately need to do right now: He believed to see, and he focused on the goodness of the Lord. Although tribulation is all around us in the land of the living, because we have the Lord and He has armed us, we can believe to see that He has a plan, and we can focus on His goodness. “Faintness of heart is a common infirmity; even he who slew Goliath was subject to its attacks…” Charles Spurgeon wrote. “We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and stay our soul’s hunger with foretastes of the Lord’s eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and song.”

"We must believe to see, not see to believe," (Charles Spurgeon) Read more on hopereflected.com

“Nothing is a surprise to God; nothing is a setback to His plans; nothing can thwart His purposes; and nothing is beyond His control.”

Joni Eareckson Tada

We are not alone, even as we go through times of tribulation, live through stressful situations, or are even physically isolated. He has armed us. “These things I have spoken unto you,” Jesus said in John 16:33, “that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Preceding this, Jesus says these words: “I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” (16:32). Jesus spoke these words knowing that He would shortly go to His death and endure the cross.

Trust the One who promises to never leave us or forsake us

Joni Eareckson Tada, a woman who has also seen her share of tribulation, once said that, “Nothing is a surprise to God; nothing is a setback to His plans; nothing can thwart His purposes; and nothing is beyond His control.” Our present circumstances do not surprise God. He’s not panicking about how He’ll put everything back together. While we may not understand the reasoning for what’s happening all around us, there is no need to stoke the fires of anxiety and stress. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain.” May we trust the One who promises that He will never leave or forsake us.

Originally published as “Believe to see.” Independent Plus. April 22, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

3

September 2021

One of the most practical ways we can help

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Jesus is our greatest example of interceding prayer. Read more at hopereflected.com

“I pray for you every night.”

Some of the most encouraging words are when someone shares that they are praying for you. Prayer offered up on the behalf of another is powerful. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”. Jesus is our greatest example of interceding prayer, when He prayed for us, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17:9). My Grandmother once wrote of this verse, “This means Christ prayed for me that day.” Consider this: If you are a Christian, then Christ has interceded for you. He has spoken your name to God the Father and taken your needs before Him. What a thought!

Interceding prayer is purposeful and persistent

Take Abraham’s prayer for Sodom, for example. We’re told in Genesis 18 that Abraham stood before the Lord, and “drew near” (v. 23). He wasn’t aloof, he didn’t head with the other men toward Sodom; he purposefully drew near to the Lord and prayed. He pleaded with the Lord on Sodom’s behalf. Abraham was both engaged and confident that the Lord would hear him. Matthew Henry said, “In the word God speaks to us; in prayer we speak to him… God’s word then does us good when it furnishes us with matter for prayer and excites us to it.” When was the last time we were excited for prayer, especially praying for one another?

When was the last time we were excited for prayer, especially praying for one another? Read more at hopereflected.com

Understand one another’s needs and requests

My niece and nephew have been praying specifically for months that our baby will sleep through the night, and the Lord hears their prayers. When we see God working, that should excite us to pray more! Interceding prayer is personal and particular. An example of this is the prayer of Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24, and David’s prayer for his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 29. David prays that the Lord will give Solomon “a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments… and to build the palace,” (v. 19). Matthew Henry said, “God’s providence extends itself to the smallest occurrences and admirably serves its own purposes by them.” God cares about each and every detail, so we ought to be particular when we’re praying for one another. Sometimes the very things we think don’t matter, matter to God.  

When we pray - for one another, for our community, for our country, - God hears. Read more at hopereflected.com

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,”

James 5:16

Interceding prayer is powerful. In Exodus 17, when Amalek fought with the children of Israel, Moses stood on the top of the hill and prayed. When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed (v. 11). Aaron and Hur interceded and helped hold up Moses’s hands and Israel ultimately triumphed. When we pray – for one another, for our community, for our country – God hears. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” James wrote in his eponymous epistle (James 5:16). Prayer is one of the most powerful and practical ways that we can help each other.

Originally published as “One of the most practical ways we can help.” Independent Plus. April 15, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Saturday

21

August 2021

Where’s your focus?

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"If we cannot see God, at least we will look towards Him." Read more about the importance of focus on hopereflected.com

Focusing on Christ rather than the miracles He performed

Throughout Jesus’s ministry, there are many times Jesus performs a miracle and specifically tells the healed not to tell anyone about their healing. The leper (Matt. 8), the blind men (Matt. 9), the “great multitudes” (Matt. 12), the twelve year old girl (Mark 5), the man with the speech impediment (Mark 7), as well as several others.

Wouldn’t Christ have wanted these incredible healings to be broadcast to bring more people to Him? In Mark 7:36, we read that “the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;”. More than the miracles themselves, it seems that Christ wanted to keep the focus on the Saviour rather than on the miracles.

Christ wanted to keep the focus on the Saviour rather than on the miracles.

Hope Reflected

We get so focused on what’s going on around us, on our circumstances, on other people, on their problems, that we have a hard time keeping our eyes on God. We’re faster to find fault than we are to offer forgiveness. We’re more quick to question than we are to quietly wait on the Lord’s will. We are troubled over trivial matters instead of maintaining a triumphant attitude at all that the Lord has done for us.

“Set your affection on things above”

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2) Read more about focus on hopereflected.com

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” Paul wrote to the church at Colossae in Colossians 3:2. This is not to suggest that we be so heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly good, however as Matthew Henry wrote, “affection to the one will weaken and abate affection to the other.” Where we put our focus is of utmost importance. When we focus on the things of this world, they become the most important. Paul wrote the book of Colossians while he was in prison. His focus was on providing encouragement to Christian believers. Throughout his letter, we don’t read about the prison conditions or how discouraged he was. The only reference we read about Paul’s imprisonment is at the closing of his letter when he asks for the believers to “Remember my bonds.” (Col. 4:18). Paul’s focus was in the right place.

"To guide something or someone with the eye requires our focus to be in the right place." Read more about focus on hopereflected.com

David is another Biblical figure who understood the importance of where we focus. After his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, he wrote several Psalms, including Psalm 32. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (v. 8). In Hebrew, this means to fix one’s eye, to focus. To guide something or someone with the eye requires our focus to be in the right place. Similarly, in Psalms 121 and 123, the psalmist writes, “I will lift up mine eyes,” to focus on the Lord (Ps. 121:1, 123:1).

Where we choose to focus directly impacts our lives. Charles Spurgeon wrote that “we must use our eyes with resolution, for they will not go upward to the Lord of themselves, but they incline to look downward, or inward, or anywhere but to the Lord: let it be our firm resolve that the heavenward glance shall not be lacking. If we cannot see God, at least we will look towards him.”

Originally published as “Focus.” Independent Plus. March 11, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

18

August 2021

Let us: A call to action

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"The 'Let us' verses in the Bible are as much a call to action as they are an encouragement." Read more at hopereflected.com

Two words that call us to action

Most of us are familiar with the “But God” verses of the Bible; these are words with the power of change lives. Many of us, however, often forget about two other words found within Scripture that call us to action: Let us.

Paul writes in Romans 13:11-14 that “now it is high time to awake out of sleep… let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day… put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ…”. Now it is high time – we aren’t to dilly-dally in our obedience to God. Delayed obedience is disobedience, as Dr. Charles Stanley says. Let us cast off the works of darkness – strife, jealousy, pride, selfishness, and their counterparts – and let us put on the armour of light, our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew Henry wrote that, “A Christian must reckon himself undressed, if unarmed.”  Rather than strife, we should strive for stillness. Rather than jealousy, we should choose joy. Rather than selfishness, we ought to be selfless. It’s hard to put into practice though, when we’re stuck in the dark with our feelings of dejection and opposition. These are precisely the times that we need the armour of light.

Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Dr. Charles Stanley

Thank God that we can put on the armour of light, and that we can come to Christ with all our infirmities. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16). When we find ourselves wallowing, let us come to Him, and let us come to Him boldly. We cannot bask in self-pity and come to Christ boldly at the same time; we must choose one or the other. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning and His compassions fail not. We can take comfort in the fact that while we don’t understand how on earth He’s going to work our situation for good, that He has already worked it out in His perfect timing.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) See more at hopereflected.com

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience… Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” (Hebrews 10:22-24). Are our hearts sincere, are we confident in Him? We cannot stand firm on God’s promises and be skeptical at the same time; either we trust that He will do as He promises, or we don’t. When we put on the armour of light, draw near to Him, and hold fast the profession of our faith, we encourage others to do the same. When we consider one another, do we merely commiserate with them, or do we cheer them on to love and good works? The “Let us” verses in the Bible are a call to action as much as they are an encouragement.

Originally published as “Let us: A call to action.” Independent Plus. March 2, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

15

June 2021

Sword of the spirit

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In Ephesians 6, Christians are instructed to “take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” (v. 13). We are not able to just throw on body armour and march into battle. In Biblical times, armour would have been first fitted and tried by whoever was wearing it into battle. A great example of this was David, who before fighting Goliath was dressed with Saul’s armour. David took off the armour because he wasn’t accustomed to wearing it. He was more comfortable going to battle wearing his own shepherd’s dress and carrying his own staff rather than a sword.

we are instructed to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (v. 17). Just as swordsmanship is not learned in a single lesson, so the Word of God is not understood with merely one reading. See more at hopereflected.com

Meant to be read

Further in Ephesians 6, we are instructed to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (v. 17). Just as swordsmanship is not learned in a single lesson, so the Word of God is not understood with merely one reading. The Bible, is meant to be read, re-read, and read through again.

We are halfway through the “new year”, and many have already given up on whatever resolutions they may have started on January 1. Is daily devotional time one of these resolutions? Are we guilty of “giving up” on our reading because we find the reading too difficult, or we procrastinate for other activities that we deem more desirable? David wrote in Psalm 119 that he had “hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (v. 11). To hide God’s Word in our hearts requires us to know and to memorize it, and we cannot know and memorize Scripture unless we are reading and hearing it consistently. If I didn’t have a physical copy of the Bible, how many verses would I be able to recall to mind? The Bible is filled with encouraging promises and truths that are worth remembering, and it’s a comfort to remind ourselves of these when we’re in situations where we don’t have the Bible near at hand.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). See more at hopereflected.com

Consistently search the Scriptures

Further in Psalm 119, David wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (v. 105). Unlike the bright LED flashlights of today, lamps in Biblical times required lighting by flame. People weren’t able to make an entire journey by lighting a lamp once. Candles would need to be replaced, flames would need to be rekindled. So it is with the Bible. We can’t just read it once and expect that God’s Word will guide us through life. We need to consistently search the Scriptures to find wisdom, to understand how we should properly respond to life’s trials and troubles.

A.W. Tozer said, “we must allow the Word of God to correct us the same way we allow it to encourage us.” Read more at hopereflected.com

Beyond encouragement, we ought to look to God’s Word to teach us as well. A.W. Tozer said, “we must allow the Word of God to correct us the same way we allow it to encourage us.” Not only does the Bible encourage us, it’s breathed out by God to teach, reprove, and train us as well (2 Tim. 3:16-17). “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Originally published as “Sword of the Spirit.” Independent Plus. January 28, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

4

June 2021

Benefits of God

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"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." Psalm 68:19 | Read more about the benefits of God at hopereflected.com

A reminder to see God’s blessings in the every day

Last week, a friend shared that she keeps Psalm 68:19 posted on her desk to provide her with a reminder to see God’s blessings in each day: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” (Psalm 68:19). It is thought that David wrote Psalm 68 after God provided him with rest from his enemies and he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Zion. “So many, so weighty, are the gifts of God’s bounty to us that he may be truly said to load us with them;” Matthew Henry said, “he pours out blessings till there is no room to receive them.” This brings to mind Malachi 3:10 in which God promises to “pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” When we are obedient to God as David was, we can experience the same Lord who daily loads us with benefits. Not just one benefit or two, God “daily loadeth us” with benefits.

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”

Psalm 68:19

Later in his life, David penned Psalm 103. In this devotion, David wrote, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” (Psalm 103:2). David made a habit of praising the Lord and recalling His benefits. While in Psalm 68 David didn’t list out specifics of God’s benefits to us, in Psalm 103 he provides more insight into some of God’s benefits for which we should be thankful: He forgives our iniquities and He heals our diseases (v. 3), He redeems our life from destruction, He crowns us with loving-kindness and tender mercies (v. 4), He satisfies our mouth with good things and He renews our strength like the eagle’s (v. 5).

God’s use of repetition to remind us of His benefits

Do these benefits sound familiar? That’s because they are. Just as David wrote more than once about God’s benefits, throughout the Bible God uses repetition to remind us and teach us important lessons, like being thankful and remembering His blessings. He crowns us with loving-kindness and tender mercies. These tender mercies are the same mercies that we read about in Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed… They are new every morning:”. God promises us mercies that are new every morning – because He daily loadeth us with benefits. Every single day.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed… They are new every morning:”

Lamentations 3:22-23

Or what about how God renews our youth like the eagle’s? This is the same promise we find in Isaiah 40:31: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” God doesn’t promise us the strength of a chickadee or robin, and for good reason. He renews our strength like the eagle’s strength because eagles are one of the most formidable birds on earth. They’re incredibly fast, have excellent eyesight, and can carry at least four times their weight in prey.

Tender mercies from God never expire. Strength found in God is never small. Benefits of God are never trivial. God never does anything halfway; He always has His best in mind for us.

Originally published as “The benefits of God.” Independent Plus. January 21, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

20

April 2021

The hope of something new

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Isaiah 33:2 "O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble." | Hope Reflected | The hope of something new

Anything new – be it a sunrise, a snowfall, or even a new year – brings with it a sense of hope and renewal. When we are discouraged, tested, and tired, we often start seeking something new. For Christians, we are quick to forget that the Lord offers us something new each day.

In the book of Lamentations, we read a reflection on the suffering of the Israelites as a result of the destruction of Jerusalem. While the start of the book speaks much of judgment and suffering, the third chapter has a distinct aroma of hope through God’s mercies and compassions.

“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 mercies and compassions are continuously renewed

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,” we read in Lamentations 3:22-23. “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Even in the middle of our discouragement, testing, and tiredness, God’s mercies and compassions are new every morning. Even when the outlook is bleak, God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed. As Matthew Henry said, “When we are in distress we should, for the encouragement of our faith and hope, observe what makes for us as well as what makes against us. Things are bad but they might have been worse, and therefore there is hope that they may be better.” To put it as Paul poignantly wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:9, “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Though we often wake up with the wrong attitude, The Lord who changes not offers us His mercies. Because of His compassions we are not consumed. The problem is that rather than focus our attention to waiting on the Lord, we’re more concerned about what’s going on around us, and what could go wrong. We move in our own strength rather than resting in Him. Isaiah wrote, “O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” (33:2). Are we looking to God in the time of trouble, or are we instead looking around us and being filled with discouragement? Times may be dark, but God is on our side. Nothing that happens in the world around us is a surprise to Him.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18-19

With God, we have the hope of something new

Until we change our behavior, we can’t appreciate the Lord’s mercies and compassions. Until we repent of our sin, and for grieving the Holy Spirit, we can’t expect forgiveness. Until we stop looking down our noses and start picking up our cross daily, we are not capable of following God. Unless we pursue after Him, we cannot partake of His mercies and compassions. Though present times may seem as though we are wandering through a wilderness or desert land, we need to keep going. With God, we have the hope of something new. “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Originally published as “The hope of something new.” Independent Plus. January 14, 2021: 5. Print. Web.