Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

faithfulness Archive

Friday

20

March 2020

Peter: From Fearful to Faith-Filled

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"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:30) | Read more at hopereflected.com

From fishing to following

Peter was not a man with a formal education; rather, he was a fisherman, to whom we’re first introduced in Matthew 4, when Jesus implores Peter to “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) Right away, without hesitation, both Peter and his brother Andrew leave their nets, and quite literally follow our Lord.

Peter is one of the most relatable of the apostles – in him we can see ourselves, and in him we witness such a redemptive testimony. Peter’s walk with the Lord took him from being fearful to living faith-filled, and reading through the New Testament takes us through his transformation. 

Lord, save me

When Christ walks on water in the middle of a storm in Matthew 14, we read that the disciples were afraid. Peter, first questioning, says, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” (14:28) Jesus responds to him, “Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” (14:29) Peter becomes fearful when he takes his eyes off Christ and gets caught up in the storm raging around him. He cries out, “Lord, save me.” (14:30) Isn’t that just like us? We start out with good intentions, we get going, and then we take our eyes off the Lord. We’re quick to rely on our own strength, when we should be resting in the Lord. Years later in his ministry, we witness Peter’s transformation as he encourages fellow Christians to remember that we are “kept by the power of God through faith.” (1 Peter 1:5).

From cowardly to courageous

We see throughout Peter’s time with Christ his change from cowardly to courageous. Preceding Christ’s crucifixion, Peter pledges his allegiance to Christ (Matt. 26:35). Only a short time later, when Christ is betrayed into the hands of the high priest and abandoned by the disciples, we read that Peter “followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.” (Matt. 26:58) Peter watches as Jesus is beaten, abused, and spit upon, and he vehemently denies knowing Christ not just once, but three times in a matter of minutes. Peter then weeps bitterly after he recalls our Lord’s statement to him, “Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” (26:75) What a picture of us. We boast of our faithfulness, but in times of trial and testing – and when it seems everyone’s against us – we’re swift to shrink back and go silent. This hard lesson was a precursor to Peter’s eponymous epistle where he wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15-16) and that we should be happy if we are “reproached for the name of Christ,” (1 Peter 4:14).

Peter’s transformation from fearful to faith-filled required great perseverance. Like Peter, we must move forward, and continually cast all our cares upon Christ.

Originally published as “Peter: From Fearful to Faith-Filled.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. November 21, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

10

February 2020

The Significance of Small Things

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"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also much." (Luke 16:10) | The Significance of Small Things, read more at hopereflected.com

Don’t underestimate the significance of small things

“Remember a small light will do a great deal when it is in a very dark place,” D.L. Moody once said. Don’t underestimate the significance of small things.

By the simple act of holding up his hands, Moses helped lead the Israelites to victory (Exodus 17:11). With the jawbone of a donkey, Samson killed one thousand Philistines and protected his people (Judges 15:16). Using a piece of scarlet cord, Rahab preserved her entire family from certain death (Joshua 2:18). By tithing two mites, the poor widow gave all that she had (Mark 12:42-44). By following a star, the wise men found Jesus (Matt. 2:9). The Bible is filled with the significance of small things, seemingly random things that don’t strike us as that important – until God uses them for His glory. “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,” said Jesus, “ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matt. 17:20) All we need is faith that He is Who He says He is, and that He will do as He promises.

Faith as a grain of mustard seed

Speaking of small things, faith as a grain of mustard seed can be found along the narrow way, by the straight gate. Why is the way narrow, and why is the gate straight? If we think about it, the narrow way is not the popular route. People are always striving for more, trying to do something bigger and better, living large and getting ahead, making it to the top, looking out not for others but for self interests, self care, and success. Our Lord is the exact opposite of all that. Our Lord is all about the significance of small things, and that is how He lived His life here on earth. He was a true minimalist. He had no home, He looked out for others not so He could get ahead, but so He could get to the Cross. He became small and humbled Himself, and in doing so gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive: Eternal life in Him.

We must be faithful in the few

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10) If we aren’t willing to serve in the small things, what makes us think that God will use us in big ways? To hear His, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” we must be faithful in the few and see the significance of small things. When our initial thought is that something’s too small to consider or to insignificant to make a difference, remember our Lord, Whose eye is always on the small things, even the sparrow: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)

Originally published as “The Significance of Small Things.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. September 26, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

27

September 2019

God’s Faithfulness

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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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Friday

19

January 2018

Hope Reflected | God’s Faithfulness to Us

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His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) God's Faithfulness to us | See more at hopereflected.com

God’s faithfulness to us

Most of the time, we’re more apt to use a product or make a purchase based on someone else’s testimony of how well a product works or how a certain purchase changed their life. While it’s not a product or service, the Bible works in a similar way. After experiencing God’s faithfulness, you’re more apt to share about your experience with others and encourage them to get into God’s Word and give Him a chance. God’s Word is this amazing, incredible guide to life that works! In fact, without the Bible, without God’s promises and principles, we lack order. Look around!

Reading through the Bible, we’re met with so many accounts of God’s faithfulness. What I love about this, is that each account of God’s faithfulness comes to us courtesy of people who lived before us, who give firsthand accounts of how God changed their lives and changed the way they lived.

Even in my own life, I can’t begin to share all the stories of how God – time and time and time again – consistently shows up in my life and provides exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or think. Even in the past few days! As David said in Psalm 63:3, “Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!”

God’s faithfulness is always fresh. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Lamentations 3:22-23 was the basis for the infamous hymn, “Great is Thy faithfulness”. God’s compassions are new every morning and His faithfulness is great – every morning. Each day, we get a fresh start to experience, recognize, and give thanks for God’s faithfulness! Whatever the day brings – big challenges, facing fears, enduring heartache – God will be faithful to you. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

God’s faithfulness is independent of our faith. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful.” (2 Timothy 2:13) Thankfully, God’s faithfulness does not depend on us! There is nothing that we can do that will alter His faithfulness to us. I’m thankful for that as I so often falter throughout life. His love endures. When we are tired, He is enlivened; when we are weak, He is strong; when we are failing, He is thriving; when we are hating, He is loving. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

God’s faithfulness is everlasting. “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9) Since the beginning of time, God has been demonstrating His faithfulness. He always will! Check out the historical examples of God’s faithfulness in the books of Joshua, 1 Kings, the Psalms, Paul’s epistles, among others. God is faithful!

As we’re told in Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Though it may not always be easy, and though we may have to rest and wait patiently for the Lord to work, the fact is this: He always does. God is faithful, and He will quite often show up in our lives in ways that are far above and beyond anything we could imagine!

Originally published as “God’s faithfulness to us.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 9, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

2

September 2016

Hope Reflected: Attributes of God, Part 1

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attributes of God

A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing to us.” While I’ve yet to read all of Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy, that quote really resonated with me. It’s true; how we think about God determines our measure of worship. This past Sunday at church, the speaker was talking about different attributes of God that we should recognize and acknowledge in our lives that will help to alleviate anxiety and create a more whole mindset in us. The way we think about God influences the way we go through life. Too often we get caught up in the day-to-day, worrying about tomorrow or our circumstances or other things here on Earth, when the reality is that we were put here on Earth to influence others for eternity.

There are several attributes of God found throughout scripture, however today I’d like to focus on three that have truly impacted my life:

  1. God is faithful. Psalm 86:5 tells us, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” So many times throughout the Bible, we are shown examples of God’s faithfulness to those who trust in Him. A very realistic way to recall God’s faithfulness is to keep a journal of prayer requests and answers. Wes and I recently went through the first prayer list we ever made together, and it is incredible just how many of our prayers were answered specifically, and not just answered, answered exceedingly abundantly above all that we could have asked or thought. God is faithful! All we have to do is trust Him and commit our way to Him! “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)
  2. God is love. Not just loving, God is love. And I think we’d all agree that in this world in which we live, each of us could use more love. John wrote in his epistle of 1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” We read a deeper definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Frequently referenced at weddings, the “love chapter” of the Bible was written by the apostle Paul. [For a fascinating history of the books of Corinthians and when Paul wrote them, check out Matthew Henry’s Commentary.] The King James Version of 1 Corinthians 13 refers to ‘love’ as ‘charity’. It was originally translated from the Greek word, αγαπη (agapē), or in Latin, “caritas”, which means ‘Christian love’. We are told in 1 Corinthians 13 that love, or charity, never fails. That’s God. He will not and cannot fail. When we trust in Him, that’s a promise. We are also reminded in Galatians 5:22 that love is one of the fruits of the Spirit; if we love God, we will live in love, joy, peace, gentleness, faith, etc.
  3. God is merciful. This attribute in particular is a great reminder to me. God loves me and has forgiven me, and sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins. I haven’t got what I deserve because I serve a risen Lord who, among other awesome attributes, is merciful. Psalm 103:8 says, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Notice anything in particular about that verse? God’s mercy is so strong that it merits two mentions. Often confused with grace, mercy pardons sin (whereas grace grants favour). God is plenteous in mercy; He has mercy enough to cleanse the sins of the world, should we choose to trust Him. We are promised in Isaiah 55:7 that if we forsake our sinful ways, and return to the LORD, “…he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” I love this quote from Arthur W. Pink: “He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet, nevertheless, fixed His heart upon me.”

These are merely three of God’s amazing attributes. God’s demonstration of His faithfulness, love, and mercy in my life have molded me into who I am, and without God’s faithfulness, love, and mercy, I can’t imagine where I might be today. God’s attributes are parts of His character that help us to really understand Who He is. The truth is, we’ll never understand them all, but we can observe what the Bible tells us about Who God is, and believe it, and be encouraged.

 

Originally published as “Attributes of God, Part 1.” Minto Express. July 27, 2016: 5. Print.

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Wednesday

20

April 2016

Hope Reflected: The Importance of Faithfulness, Even in the Little Things

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Lamentations 3:23 the importance of faithfulness

One of my favourite passages in the Bible is Lamentations 3:22-23, in which the author says, “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.”

God’s faithfulness is great.

Whenever I read this passage or hear the classic Thomas Chisholm hymn, “Great is Thy faithfulness”, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness. And I’m also reminded that we sometimes read those words or sing that hymn without truly taking in the meaning, and the value, of faithfulness.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, being “faithful” means to remain loyal and steadfast. To be loyal is to have “a strong feeling of support or allegiance”, and to be steadfast is to be “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering”. Those are words with impact, and faithfulness is an impacting virtue.

While faithfulness is important in every aspect of our lives, I can think of three areas where the virtue of faithfulness is especially significant: Relationally, professionally, and financially.

  1. Faithfulness is a fundamental foundation in relationships. Hebrews 13:4 says that “Marriage is to be held in honor among all…” When we think about being faithful in a relationship, quite often the first thought is sexually. That’s certainly an important key, however I think too often we don’t place enough value on emotional faithfulness. Especially in today’s society, it seems to be more commonplace for women and men to go outside the marriage to confide in female or male friends, or even co-workers. Adultery doesn’t just refer to sexuality. Proverbs 6:32 says, “A man who commits adultery with a woman lacks wisdom, whoever does it destroys his own life.” Men and women alike should protect the sanctity of their marriage covenant. Proverbs 31:11-12 says of the virtuous woman, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil.”
  2. Faithfulness is a fundamental foundation in your career. There’s the old adage that says “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Maybe you don’t have the benefit of being in a job that you “love”, so perhaps you think your position doesn’t matter. It does. Regardless of whether you’re working in a job to make ends meet, or if you love your career choice, Colossians 3:23 instructs us, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men…”. Whether you love where you’re at professionally or not, we should all be working for God’s glory. You might say, “But what about my boss?!” Well, the Bible tell us in Romans 13:1, “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Whether politically or professionally, no authority is in place without God’s plan being part of it. Rest in that, and do your best.
  3. Faithfulness is a fundamental foundation in your finances. Finances are always a touchy subject. Everybody has his or her own opinion about how to deal with their finances. But what does the Bible say? The Bible has a lot to say about our finances. Psalm 37:21 tells us, “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives…”. As Christians, we are to be good stewards of all that God has blessed us with, and that means paying off debts as well as giving. Even as early as the book of Genesis (14:19-20), we are told that Abram tithed and gave the Lord a tenth of everything. In Proverbs 3:9-10 we are advised to “Honor the Lord with your wealth and the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” My Grama always reminded me that when she was young and newly married, she and my Grampa never bought what they couldn’t pay for upfront. It’s a good reminder that if there is something you want, don’t always be so quick to rely on your credit card. There’s reward in purchasing items outright and not owing anything. We should be faithful in our finances.

Faithfulness is a virtue that can be developed prayerfully and with good habits. Proverbs 28:20 says “A faithful man shall abound with blessings…”.

 

Originally published as “The Importance of Faithfulness, Even In the Little Things”. Minto Express. April 6, 2016: 5. Print.

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