Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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Wednesday

6

September 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Faith Reassures You

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Stress tells you that everything has to happen right now. Faith reassures you that everything will happen in God's perfect timing. | See more at hopereflected.com

“Stress tells you that everything has to happen right now. Faith reassures you that everything will happen in God’s perfect timing.”

A friend of mine shared this quote on Facebook the other day, and it reminded me of the importance of keeping our focus on God and His perfect timing — even when we feel like He can’t hear us. Isn’t it true? So often, we go to the Lord in prayer seeking an instant answer to a prayer request, or so confident in our own plan, when really, we ought to rest in Him and wait patiently for His perfect timing rather than rushing.

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.” When we make a conscious effort to keep our focus on God, we strengthen our faith. Here are 10 encouraging Bible verses for when you’re feeling stressed or if you need reassurance of God’s faithfulness.

  • “‘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 hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8)
  • “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
  • “Cast all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
  • “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
  • “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)
  • “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

These are just 10 Bible verses for when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, worried. The Bible is filled with so many encouraging and uplifting verses. Dig into God’s Word and let faith reassure you. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him!

“Stress tells you that everything has to happen right now. Faith reassures you that everything will happen in God’s perfect timing.”

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Friday

1

September 2017

Hope Reflected | The Light

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun. C.S. Lewis quote | See more at hopereflected.com

The Light

This past week, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the light. It’s not that the weather’s been particularly rainy, however my heart has just been hurting when I hear the news of unrest both in North America and abroad. Perhaps it’s the constant connectivity of social media that is making everybody suddenly “aware,” or perhaps as a nation we are finally getting to the point where something’s got to give. Either way, now more than ever, I find myself trying to remember that this world is not our forever home, and I find my focus and meditation is leaning more on the promises of God and His light.

Without light, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish much. It’s like a life without Christ; without Him, we can’t really accomplish much. I mean, sure, we may think we can do anything, but earthly glory is only temporary. Light is a fascinating thing.

Light encourages. “The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) If you’re someone who suffers from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), you know what I mean when I say that light encourages. There’s something about being stuck in the dull days of the middle of winter, where clouds are full and sunlight is sparse. When you experience the sunlight in the midst of the dark winter days, it’s almost like a weight lifts off your shoulders. You think more positively, your focus is more clear, and you are encouraged that spring is somewhere around the corner. The same rules apply when you have Christ as your Saviour. He encourages. He gives us strength. “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24) As Christians, we aren’t called to shine our own light, rather we are called to reflect Christ’s light. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Light helps things grow. “All things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:13) If you’re reading this, you’re likely well aware of photosynthesis – the process in which plants use sunlight to make food from carbon dioxide and water. Not only does sunlight help plants grow, it also assists in the production of oxygen as a result. When you have Christ as your Saviour, you don’t just stay the same. There is great growth that comes as a result of having a genuine heart for God. Just as you learn and grow from grade to grade in school, you grow spiritually as you grow closer to God. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

Light dispels darkness. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5) There is a whole lot of darkness in this world. And that’s to be expected. We live in a broken world. As Anne Graham Lotz (The Reverend Billy Graham’s daughter) said when asked about how God could let certain things happen in the world, “for several years now Americans in a sense have shaken their first at God and said, ‘God, we want you out of our schools, our government, our business, we want you out of our marketplace, and God, who is a gentleman, has just quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life, removing His hand of blessing and protection.’” It’s not just happening in America – it’s happening everywhere. The good news is that God’s light dispels darkness. We just need to put our faith in Him.

You may feel as though you’re walking in the darkness. Perhaps you’re anxious, discouraged, or fearful about the future. There is hope! There is light! As C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun – not because I can see it, but because by it I can see everything else.” “Don’t shine so that others can see you, shine so that through you, others can see Him.”

Originally published as “The Light.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. August 24, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Monday

24

July 2017

Hope Reflected | Meekness

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Meekness isn't weakness; it's strength under control. | Hope Reflected Read more at hopereflected.com

Meekness

Sunday is a day that both Wes and I look forward to each week. Not only is it the start of a new week, the Sabbath brings with it an opportunity to rest, to receive Biblical teaching, and to fellowship with other believers. This past Sunday, we were blessed by the ministry of Tim Horne. Speaking on the subject of the Beatitudes, Tim shared from God’s Word about Christians cultivating the characteristics of Christ in our everyday lives.

If you’re not familiar with the Beatitudes, you can read them as part of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-12. The Beatitudes are a list of blessings and characteristics that Jesus highlights, and as Tim explained, the Beatitudes are a portrait of Jesus.

One of the Beatitudes is that of meekness. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” What does it truly mean to be meek?

Often, the virtue of meekness is associated with weakness (perhaps because the two words rhyme?). However, meekness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control. From what I can see, Jesus is referred to (or calls Himself) meek at least ten times throughout Scripture. When you think about the definition of meekness, and what it means to embody the word, the references to Jesus as meek are very fitting. In fact meekness – for those living and looking to the Lord every day – is one of the essential expressions of a true Christian.

To be meek requires wisdom. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” (James 3:13) When I think of the people in my life who I consider to be wise, I see them as great pillars of strength. American theologian Warren Wiersbe once said that “meekness is the right use of power, and wisdom is the right use of knowledge. They go together. The truly wise person will show in his daily life (conversation means behavior), that he is a child of God. Attitude and action go together.”

To be meek requires strength. “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) Moses was a strong man. Not only did he lead the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, he also received the Ten Commandments from God. Meekness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control. As Elder Ulisses Soares once said, “Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control.” Never assume that loud is strong and quiet is weak.

To be meek requires humility and a teachable spirit. “The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psalm 25:9) Getting caught up in always being right, winning the argument, or always having the last word can be exhausting. You can find rest when you’re willing to learn. In one of my favourite Bible verses, Jesus provides encouragement when He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) It takes courage to be humble, and the Lord blesses a teachable spirit. “…God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

To be meek requires peacefulness. “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing…” (2 Timothy 2:24-25) Sometimes we confuse being peaceful with being a pushover, and that’s not the case. Part of being meek means that you don’t purposefully strive with others, and you don’t seek out arguments. That being said, being meek requires you to stand up for what’s right, and to address it if someone treats you wrong. After all, God doesn’t call us to be doormats but He does call us to live in love. “Put them in mind… to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:2)

If you’re ever in doubt about the virtue of meekness, consider Jesus. As a mirror of the Beatitudes, His life is an example of meekness. To be soft and strong is a combination that few have mastered, but it can be done when you keep your focus on Christ.

Originally published as “Meekness.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. July 6, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Thursday

11

May 2017

Wednesday

22

February 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Faith

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Wednesday Wisdom

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“Faith does not make things easy; it makes things possible.” Luke 1:37

We know from reading the book of Hebrews that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Facts about faith:

Prayer, fellowship, and quality time in God’s Word are the essentials of a strong faith.

Trust, assurance, confidence, and a firm foundation in Christ are the results of a strong faith.

Looking to strengthen your faith and your relationship with God? Get into His Word. Having a relationship with God doesn’t always make things easy, but it makes them possible.

“Faith does not make things easy; it makes things possible.” Luke 1:37

 

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Friday

18

November 2016

Hope Reflected: Choose Faith Over Fear

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Have you ever been in a season of life where you face an unknown future? Perhaps you’re starting at a new school, or starting a new job, or maybe even making a career change. Maybe you’re facing health issues, or moving to a new town. One of the realities of life is that we will all face seasons of change. Many thoughts can run through our minds when embarking on a new journey, and it’s in those times of uncertainty that we all need to be reminded to choose faith over fear.

Have you ever tried mixing oil and water? Or, fellow food lovers, what about mixing extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar? Notice how they just don’t jive? Olive oil is less dense than vinegar, so it always floats to the top. Try as you might, you can’t mix the two together. The same thing can be said of faith and fear. Bob Proctor said it like this: “Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose!”

Last week at Clifford Community Church, Reverend Bott painted a picture in his sermon about the children of Israel and how close they came to entering the promised land… before spending forty years wandering through the wilderness. God doesn’t want us to stay stagnant in the wilderness; but we have to put our faith in Him in order to move forward! Sometimes it’s hard, but I know I’d rather choose a future and a hope through faith than anxiety and worry through fear!

By definition, faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. In the Bible, we learn a lot more about faith than just a dictionary definition, however. We see faith in action all through God’s Word, and we’re introduced to so many men and women who chose faith over fear and experienced God’s amazing blessings.

From my own experience, here are three facts I know to be true about faith:

  1. Faith is powerful. Hebrews 11:1 states that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When we put our faith and hope in God, and His best, we eliminate any unbelief or feelings of fear. You can’t have fear when you’ve got faith – what a powerful thought! At one of the lowest points of his life, when he was caught by the Philistines at Gath, David said, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 56:3) If you’re feeling fearful or afraid, put your faith in God. He will see you through. If He brings you to it, He can bring you through it! And it’s through facing our fears head on that we defeat them and grow our faith.
  2. Faith is a gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” You may know people who have a super-strong faith that seems rock solid. And guess what? Faith isn’t just reserved for certain people. Faith is a gift from God that can be yours, too! As a result of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you’ll start to grow the fruits of the Spirit, including faith! You can go to church, get baptized, be a good person, even give money away, but none of it means anything unless you accept God’s gift of salvation. Faith is a gift; God’s grace is a gift.
  3. Faith is something we learn. Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” An unshakable faith isn’t just something that happens to us when we come to know the Lord; faith is something we learn and develop when we dig into God’s Word. The more time we spend feeding our souls in the Bible, the less time we spend feeding fear and worry. When Joshua replaced Moses as leader over the children of Israel, he was reminded and encouraged to stay in God’s Word: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Faith is something we have to grow, and we can’t grow our faith if we don’t spend time in the Bible each day!

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Wherever you are today, you’ve got the option to choose faith over fear. Like oil and vinegar, faith and fear don’t mix. As Greg Laurie says: “Where fear reigns, faith is driven away. But where faith reigns, fear has no place.”

Originally published as “Choose Faith Over Fear.” Minto Express. October 19, 2016. 5: Print.

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Wednesday

9

March 2016

Hope Reflected: 3 Life Lessons I Learned from my Grama

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mar9_3thingslearned_grama

Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we’re all influenced by those around us, and some souls have a more lasting impact on our lives than others. With the celebration of American Thanksgiving, and the start of Christmas festivities, many of my recent thoughts have been surrounding my Grama (she would have been 85 in November).

During her tenure her on Earth, my Grama imparted a lot of wisdom to her children and grandchildren. Both directly and indirectly, she taught us many lessons through the way she lived.

  1. Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Even if you don’t like them. My Grama always treated others with respect, even if she was encountering someone she didn’t really care for. She was an example, living out the Scripture of Luke 6:31 (KJV), “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”
  1. Cherish your loved ones. For my Grama, the best time spent was time surrounded with family and friends. Especially in her later years, the value she placed on this time was obvious. One of my favourite family memories is from the year before she passed, when Grama suggested we all go up to the cottage for a family weekend getaway. Everyone had to bring something – whether it was food or a favourite board game – and we spent much of that weekend eating, laughing, and creating some of the best family memories. We don’t know how long we’re given here, and it’s important to cherish those who are important to us, and to remind them of how they’re loved. Like it says in Galatians 5:13b (KJV), “…through love serve one another.”
  1. Always have faith. There were several people and things in my Grama’s life for whom she was praying. And while several of her wishes for those around her hadn’t come to pass when she passed away, she didn’t lose hope and she always had faith. Though I can’t tell her, seeing her live out her faith has influenced me in an incredible way. We may not instantaneously get answers to prayers or see success, however living with faith and purpose (and patience!) is so important as we journey through life. Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, tells of several individuals who never saw their vision fulfilled in this lifetime, but serves as a great reminder of how important strong faith is. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (v.1, KJV)

These are only three important life lessons that I learned from my Grama, and there are many more. We can learn much from our elders, so the next time you’re privileged enough to spend time with someone older than you, pay attention. Sometimes it’s not what they say, but how they live, that will stick with you.

 

Originally published as “3 Life Lessons I Learned from my Grama”. Minto Express. December 2, 2015: 5. Print.

 

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