Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

encouraging Bible verses Archive

Thursday

23

May 2019

You are not alone

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You are not alone in your feelings of loneliness.

You are not alone in your feelings of loneliness. "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:23-24) | Hope Reflected

Loneliness is not a feeling that is limited to times when we’re physically alone. While during the winter months isolation and loneliness plague many – especially those with limited mobility – loneliness is something that affects everyone at some point in their life, more than just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

The key to loneliness is recognizing it for what it is: A feeling. Feelings come and go, and that’s why it’s incredibly important during periods of loneliness to anchor yourself in the truth.

God is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere, and He is always with you. “Am I a God at hand saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:23-24 is just one example about God’s omnipresence. When you’re feeling lonely, it’s always encouraging to remember that wherever you go, God goes. Whatever you’re feeling, God is there. David asked in Psalm 139:7, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I make my bed in hell, behold, you art there, if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

In addition to God being everywhere, when you’re feeling lonely, remember that you’re not the first person to feel this way, in fact, if we’re all being honest, at some point in time we’ve all felt lonely – even while surrounded by other people! Jesus is an excellent example of this. Isaiah 53 provides a picture of what our Lord experienced during His time on earth. He bore our griefs, and He carried our sorrows, He was wounded for our transgressions and was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him (Isaiah 53:4-5). It wasn’t just your sin or my sin that Christ carried to the cross; it was everyone’s sin. Christ was oppressed and afflicted, and as a result, today we understand that we aren’t alone! When you know the Lord as your Saviour, you have a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

The Bible is filled with verses on the topic of loneliness (at least 30 by my count). You can be sure that you are not alone in your feelings of loneliness. No matter how lonely you are, Christ is there. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,” (Psalm 23:4). For thou art with me – the father of the Fatherless, the defender of widows, the one who sets the lonely into families – He is with you! As C.S. Lewis said, “Look for yourself and you will find loneliness and despair. But look for Christ and you will find Him and everything else.” In seasons of loneliness, look for Him!

Originally published as “You are not alone.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 24, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

7

January 2019

Hope Reflected | Do you work out?

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A strong spiritual life requires strength training.

Do you work out? "This is the way, walk ye in it." (Isaiah 30:21) | See more at hopereflected.com

Recently, Wes and I have heard about the daily fitness regimens of several of our friends. While we don’t consider ourselves to be fitness buffs by any stretch of the imagination, Wes and I do enjoy engaging in moderate physical activity.

Even more important than keeping your physical body in shape, we need to keep our spiritual life strong and in shape. People often talk about how important the food is that we feed our bodies, and even more important is the soul food.

Like physical exercise, working out spiritually should be pursued thoughtfully, mindfully, and most importantly, with consistency. “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.” (Isaiah 40:31) A strong spiritual life requires strength training.

Lift up your eyes, your praises, and your requests to the Lord. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) When it comes to weights, lifting is best done with a spotter. When it comes to your spiritual well-being, you’ve got more than just a spotter. Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), and there is no place we can go without His presence (omnipresent). As the Creator of Heaven and Earth, our Lord should be the first place we go to – not just for help, but with our thanksgiving – for every thing. “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

More so than the sports themselves, the thing the sticks with me most from the ’92 Summer Olympics in Barcelona is the pictograms that were used for each sport. That summer, javelin and shot put were two of the highlighted sports. That act of casting, launching an object to see how far you can throw it is a great work out. We’re told in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our cares upon Christ because He cares for us. The act of casting isn’t just handing something over, or letting it go, no, casting requires us to exert some effort and throw our cares at Christ’s feet. Take off your burdens, and leave them with the Lord.

While it’s not the exercise for everyone, long distance running requires a great amount of endurance, patience, and proper form. The same can be said of our spiritual state. “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) Those who are truly seeking after the Lord will confirm that running this race called life requires a great deal of patience. We don’t suddenly just ‘get there’, or achieve spiritual success – it’s a journey. Like long distance running, we need to learn the art of patience. “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; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Wes and I enjoy walking. While we’re all running this race through life, we need to remember that our walk with the Lord requires consistency and it is one of the most important parts of staying strong spiritually. There are many Bible verses that reference the importance of walking with the Lord, including Isaiah 30:21, which says, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” We are also commanded in Micah 6:8 to “walk humbly with the Lord.” Walking is a critical component of staying spiritually fit. Lifting, casting, running, and walking are all important activities when it comes to staying strong spiritually. At times it may be scary, and we’re never guaranteed that it will be easy, but remember to stay the course when it comes to staying spiritually fit. Be consistent, be faithful, and the Lord will bless. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Originally published as “Do you work out?” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 1, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

14

September 2018

Hope Reflected | Choose Joy

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"We have to choose joy, and keep choosing it." (Henri J.M. Nouwen) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Choose Joy

Joy can be found in many places

While many people believe that happiness and joy are one and the same, I’ve often said that happiness is a feeling and joy is a choice. One of my favourite quotes is about joy: “We have to choose joy, and keep choosing it.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen)

The notion to “choose joy” suggests that joy isn’t so much a feeling as it is a choice or a habit that we purposefully develop. While you may not be happy, you can still choose joy. While happiness resides temporarily in your heart and relies solely on your circumstances, joy indwells your spirit and can be yours at any time so long as you make the choice.

C.S. Lewis once said, “no soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek, find. To those who knock, it is opened.” Lewis also said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me ‘happy’.” Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed the path to Easy street. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from challenges. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean that you’ll always be “happy”, but it does mean that you’ve got a relationship with the Creator, and you’ve got direct access to the One Whose arm can move the world.

Mentioned more than 165 times throughout the Bible, joy is a fascinating thing. Joy, when we choose it, can arm us and equip us with many blessings. Joy can be found in many places.

  1. In God’s presence. “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11) When was the last time that you sat and just revelled in God’s presence? We often get caught up going through the motions of our morning or evening devotions and telling the Lord what we want from Him through prayer once or twice a day that we miss out on the simple delight that comes when we stop to enjoy His presence. It’s in His presence that we can experience the fullness of joy.
  2. In sorrow. “Make me to hear joy and gladness;” (Psalm 51:8) This verse continues, “…that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” That’s heavy. David (yes, David as in David and Goliath, that David) wrote Psalm 51 at a very low point in his life. He had an affair with a married woman (Bathsheba) whose husband was away at war. And what happened? Bathsheba became pregnant, and to cover his tracks, David ultimately had her husband Uriah killed at war. The prophet Nathan called David out on his sin, he repented, and that’s the backstory to David penning Psalm 51. In the midst of his sorrow, David asked the Lord to make him hear joy and gladness. And the Lord heard him. David’s testimony isn’t the only place we read about finding joy in sorrow or hardship. In James 1, we’re encouraged and reminded to consider it “all joy” when we experience trials, because it is then that our faith produces patience.
  3. In creation. “For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.” (Psalm 92:4) There’s something to be said about the experience of enjoying (to find joy in) the outdoors and God’s creation. Every morning before the sun rises, I can hear the birds singing for joy outside my window. Joy can be found in taking a walk and breathing fresh air, or in planting and tending a garden. There’s a quote about gardening that says, “he who shares the joy in what he’s grown spreads joy abroad and doubles his own.”
  4. In the morning. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) Lamentations 3:22-23 says that, “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Along with the Lord’s mercies, joy comes in the morning. If you’re not a morning person, I can appreciate this may not be what you want to hear, but it’s true. There’s something about the quiet of a new day dawning, an opportunity to start over, and a fresh perspective that makes joy that much easier to find.

Nehemiah 8:10 provides the reassurance that, “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” If you’re truly seeking after joy, God will give you strength. And it is only in God that your joy will be full (John 15:11).

Originally published as “Choose Joy.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 12, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

18

January 2018

5 verses for when you feel insecure

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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Thursday

19

October 2017

Encouragement | 1 Peter 5:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday

20

September 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Nourish to Flourish

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"You have to nourish if you want to flourish." Wednesday Wisdom | See more at hopereflected.com

“You have to nourish if you want to flourish.”

Self care is something that many of us aren’t good at. Think of all the competing priorities! From work and family to church and volunteering, sometimes it can be difficult to find — nay, take — time to rest yourself and to be still.

Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” Think about that. Providing nourishment for ourselves is about more than just the food that we put into our bodies. We also need to provide nourishment for our souls, through God’s Word, and through prayer, and we can’t do that if we are taking time to be still. Be still.

When I’m running all day, and my mind is running too, that’s when I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with anxious thoughts and feelings. Isn’t it true? Any time we find ourselves anxious or worrying, I can pretty much guarantee it’s because we’re spending more time focused on our problems than on our Saviour. It is crucial to take time each day to retrain our focus on the Lord and His goodness. When we do this, we are promised God’s perfect peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

In all areas of your life, if you want flourish, you’ve got to nourish. Jesus Christ is the living bread; it is only through Him that we can find nourishment for our souls! “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51)

What are you putting into your body, soul, and mind? What are you doing to nourish your spirit? Remember to take time to rest each day. And remember, what you choose to focus on can have a huge impact on your life. Feed yourself with the right things!

“You have to nourish if you want to flourish.”

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Tuesday

5

September 2017

Hope Reflected | Encouragement | Romans 15:13

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. (Romans 15:13) | See more at hopereflected.com

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  (Romans 15:13)

If you’ve ever read through the book of Romans, you’re well aware that throughout it, the apostle Paul delivers a powerful presentation of the Gospel. Through Christ alone can we find eternal salvation; it is His righteousness alone.

The book of Romans also provides encouragement for Christians, as evidenced in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

  • Only God can fill us with all joy and peace in believing (the key is we must believe in Him)
  • As Christians, God will fill us with ALL joy, not just some joy or a little joy, ALL joy
  • We have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives
  • We can abound in hope because we believe in Christ
  • Only God can fill us with peace, and that peace comes when we believe

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  (Romans 15:13)

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Monday

28

November 2016

Encouragement | Genesis 1:27

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we are made in God's image

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created him them.” Genesis 1:27

If you ever feel discouraged, or like you’re not good enough, remember this: God created you in His image. As Matthew Henry says in his commentary, “Man was made last of all the creatures: this was both an honour and a favour to him.” And it’s true! What an honour, what a breath-taking thought, to consider that we are created in God’s image.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God created us in His image. He has a beautiful, unique purpose for each of His creations; whoever He’s made you, He has a purpose for you. If you know Christ as your Saviour, and you have a personal relationship with Him, you can rest assured that God will not allow anything in your life that’s outside His will.

Need encouragement? Remember, you are created in God’s image!

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created him them.” Genesis 1:27

 

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Monday

21

November 2016

Encouragement | Nahum 1:7

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encouragement, the Lord is good, God's goodness

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

There are so many elements of this verse that provide encouragement:

  1. The LORD is good. He is! One of the things I love about keeping a prayer/gratitude journal is that it makes it very easy to go back and see God’s goodness and all prayers He answers, exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.
  2. A stronghold in the day of trouble. A stronghold is defined as “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack,” or “a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld.” The Lord is the one place we can go and confide all our thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams… everything! There is no relationship like the one you can have with our Heavenly Father.
  3. He knows those who trust in Him. Think about that for a minute. The Lord, the One who created the entire universe, knows you. He cares for you. He knows all those who trust in Him. Why wouldn’t you care for the One who created you? Having a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ will truly change your life, if only you’ll seek Him!

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

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Wednesday

21

September 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Discouragement is a Choice

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discouragement is a choice

“Disappointments are inevitable. Discouragement is a choice.” Charles Stanley

It would be completely unrealistic to think that throughout our lives we’ll never experience disappointment. Yet, how often do we experience disappointment and then get discouraged, without realizing that taking the unnecessary detour of discouragement is actually a choice?

Disappointment is defined as “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”

Discouragement is defined as “a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.”

It’s easy to see then how experiencing disappointment can lead to discouragement, right? Especially if we experience repeated disappointments; it can cause us to doubt our abilities, to question our circumstances, to choose discouragement.

Charles Stanley’s words, “Disappointments are inevitable. Discouragement is a choice.” are easy words to say, and hard to live. I know in my own life I often struggle with disappointment and discouragement. The key is not to stay there!

When you’re tempted to choose discouragement, remember these verses:

  • “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
  • “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7
  • “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
  • “Fear thou not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God; I will strengthen you, yes I will help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
  • “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11
  • “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
  • “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
  • “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
  • “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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