Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

favourite verses Archive



March 2017

Encouragement | Rest | Matthew 11:28

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matthew 11:28 encouragement rest

“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

You know how sometimes Monday morning can roll around and you wonder how on earth you’re going to make it through another week?

More often than not, it seems that each of us has too much going on, that we’re always running from place to place, just trying to get things done. While we’re busy being busy, it can be so easy to forget that there is One who sees all and knows all. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” There is no rest like the rest that Christ provides. There is no peace apart from Him.

You may recall in Isaiah 40:31 we are promised that “those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

A.W. Tozer once said, “Sometimes when we get overwhelmed, we forget how big God is.” No matter how much is going on this week, or how many tasks you have on your to-do list, fix your eyes on our Lord Jesus Christ, and He will give you rest.

“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28



November 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Practice An Attitude Of Gratitude

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wednesday wisdom give thanks be happy attitude of gratitude

“It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.”

Sometimes it seems that people have this misconception that happy people are the ones who give thanks and practice an attitude of gratitude. Really though, it’s the reverse; people who practice an attitude of gratitude are the happy ones.

Take a few minutes today to count your blessings, and you’ll be surprised at how the day starts to look up.

I love this verse, found in Lamentations 3:22-23, “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 mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great. Remember to take time to acknowledge everything He’s blessed you with. Take time to give thanks, to acknowledge all the blessings in our lives and the kind acts of others.

If you’re in the practice of keeping a journal, remember to note even the little things that happen in your life that make a difference. When you look back over your gratitude journal, you’ll be encouraged at the Lord’s goodness and provision in your life!

“It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.”



July 2016

Monday Encouragement: Deuteronomy 4:29

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monday encouragement

“But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

Last Sunday in church, both Wes and I were struck by the speaker’s simple yet profound sermon about surrendering complete control to God.

It seems like such an easy thing, doesn’t it? Or at least easy to say?

God is in complete control.

Acknowledging that God is in complete control is the first step to contentment.

But living it,—acknowledging that in each of our lives, we will only ever be completely content after we acknowledge that God is in control,—living it is a completely different thing.

We think if we pray harder, or differently, if we do certain things, or speak in a particular manner, that God will somehow be more apt to hear our prayers.

And that’s just not true.

The truth is, that it’s when we really seek Him with our whole hearts,—all our hearts,—and our whole souls, —all our souls,— that we will truly find God and He will find us.

Sometimes, all the time, all we need to do, is surrender.

No ritualistic prayers, no special speech, just ultimate surrender. “God, you are the One Who is in complete control.”

“But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29



May 2016

3 Ways to Conquer Bad Habits

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conquer your bad habits

Galatians 5:9 says, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” and I was reminded over the weekend just how true this is. Last Fall, Wes and I did a lot of winter prep work in our garden and around the yard; we weeded, seeded, raked, and trimmed. Preparation is supposed to benefit the lawn, trees, and any perennials in the garden during the next season.

This past weekend, it seems as though every neighbour was out in his or her yard, just soaking up the warm weather. Wes and I were no exception. We took the opportunity Saturday to churn up the gardens, do some edging, and lay mulch for this year. While we were churning the earth around our trees, both of us noticed how this one weed spread and laid roots during the winter! We’re pretty sure it’s some sort of common knotweed, and it sure grows aggressively. Even after all our work to pull up the roots last Fall, it somehow managed to breed and grow throughout the Winter.

I say all this because, as we were pulling up any leftover (or new) weeds over the weekend, I thought to my self how important it is when you’re pulling weeds to make sure you pull the whole root – you can’t leave any of the root behind, or it will just start growing again. How similar that is to our own behaviours and habits – when we’re trying to make positive life changes, we have to get rid of all the negative, and make sure any bad habits are completely uprooted.

Bad habits pull you down. Sure, those vices may not seem all that destructive at first, but like sin, vices are progressive. They start out small, and you think they’re no big deal, and sometimes we can’t even see bad habits until we’re so far involved in practicing them, and by that time, they can seem almost impossible to break. So how can we pull away from destructive behaviours and bad habits?

Three areas I can think of that can help us conquer bad habits:

  1. Be accountable. Perhaps you have a spouse, a best friend, a parent, or even someone within your church family who can encourage you by helping you stay accountable. In the first part of the verse, James 5:16 instructs us to “Confess your faults one to another”.
  2. Pray specifically. The second part of James 5:16 instructs us to “pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” When you have a specific habit you need help overcoming, or a behavior that needs correction, ask for prayer specifically for that concern.
  3. Believe you can overcome bad habits and behaviours. The last part of James 5:16 tells us that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Effectual is another word for successful, and fervent is another word for believing something so truly that you are actual passionate about the topic.

Bad habits and behaviours can be overcome. One of the keys is to nip it in the bud. Like the annoying (and fast-growing) knotweed, bad habits and behaviours have a way of spreading. As Dr. Bob Gilbert said, “First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you.”


Originally published as “3 Ways to Conquer Bad Habits.” Minto Express. April 20, 2016: 5. Print.



March 2016

Hope Reflected: Strategy (On the Road to Success)

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Proverbs 21:5

Last weekend, Wes and I were playing a game of Battleship. As it usually happens when we play board games, things got pretty heated, and before long, we were engaged in a best of three tournament (and I’ll admit, Wes won two of the three rounds). This brought up the discussion of strategy during the first and second World Wars, and further than that, got me thinking about the relevance of strategy in every day life.

The word strategy is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as, “A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.” The thing is though, you might have what you believe to be the best laid plans to achieve your goals, but there are always some circumstances that are out of your control. What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan? Here are three important factors to consider in your strategy on the road to success:

  1. If you move too quickly, you’re more likely to go the wrong way. The line between patience and pursuit is a fine one, but as King Solomon – one of the greatest strategists of Biblical times – said in Proverbs 21:5 (KJV), “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” Don’t be so eager to achieve your goals that you make decisions before first praying, and thinking. See also King Solomon’s wisdom in Proverbs 13:16 (NKJV), “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly.”
  2. Be willing to re-evaluate your plan and change your mind. Continually. Sure you’ve set goals, as well as the road map to achieve them, but let’s face it: Life is constantly changing. King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV), “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” We have to be ready and wiling to adapt to – and to anticipate – change. Part of that is having a willingness to hear constructive criticism and listen to the advice of those around you.
  3. Fight your battles on your knees. I’ve long been a huge fan of Dr. Charles Stanley and his “Life Principles” series, and his “Life Principle 8” states, “Fight all your battles on your knees and you win every time.” The most important thing to realize about any pursuit in life is that you’re not in it alone. And when I write that, I don’t refer to family or friends. I’m referring to the importance of your relationship with God. While we are all born with a free will, God’s got every circumstance in His control. It’s an amazing truth to realize that when our life strategies don’t go according to plan, we don’t have to panic. Claim Isaiah 41:10 (KJV) which promises, “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.”

Ask any successful person, and they’ll tell you the road to accomplishment is not without its sharp curves, potholes, and detours. Don’t give up just because things may not be going the way you want right now. Part of a winning strategy involves learning to be patient, being open to change, and being prayerful in your direction and decisions.


Originally published as “Strategy on the Road to Success.” Minto Express. January 27, 2016: 5. Print.



March 2016

Hope Reflected: Leaving a Legacy

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Colossians 3:23

“Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.” Dr. Seuss

Last week during the Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day memorials, we were all reminded of the incredible sacrifice of the men and women who have served our country in years past, and who continue to serve and protect today. Additionally, this past week brought the tragic news that one of my former schoolmates – 12 weeks pregnant with her second child – was murdered during a random home invasion. You might wonder how any of this relates, however for me, these two events have served as great reminders of the importance of living a life of purpose and being mindful of our influence. There is a legacy of bravery that follows our servicemen and women. Similarly, there is a legacy of joy and purpose that follows my former schoolmate, Amanda.

At least in our twenties and thirties, we don’t often give a whole lot of thought to the legacy that we will one day leave when we depart from Earth. But this past week has  got me thinking about how quickly our lives pass, and the importance of what we leave behind. Quite often, our initial thoughts may be what we will leave behind for family and loved ones from a financial or material perspective, however there are several other – and I’d argue more important – ways that we should concentrate on leaving a lasting legacy.

  1. The legacy of love. They say there is nothing like a mother’s love, and this is true. Nothing compares to the love we receive from our mother, and this is something I know I’ll try to carry on someday when Wes and I have children. John 13:34-35 (KJV) says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” People notice when you act out of love and demonstrate a genuine care for others. True love can’t be faked, and it shows through our actions.
  2. The legacy of commitment. Ever worked with someone who’s incredibly motivated, and who has an unmatched work ethic? I have. Equal parts challenging and inspiring, someone who works with commitment has a unique influence on his or her peers. Colossians 3:23 (KJV) says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men…”.
  3. The legacy of joy. You know those people who exude something more than happiness? When you make the choice every day to have joy, that has lasting impact. Psalm 16:11 (KJV) says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy…”. Craig Lounsbrough once said that inheritance is what we leave with people, and legacy is what you leave in people – that’s how it is with joy. It spreads in the soul, especially when we’re taking time each day to deepen our relationship with the Lord and His word.

With everything going on in the world today, sometimes it’s difficult to remember the importance of building our legacy. It’s s easy to get caught up in circumstances or what’s happening around us, however it’s so important to remember our influence and the importance of living a life of purpose. As entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck says, “Please think about your legacy, because you’re writing it every day.”


Originally published as “Leaving a Legacy”. Minto Express. November 18, 2015: 5. Print.



March 2016

Hope Reflected: 3 Facts About Trust

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Proverbs 3:5-6

You may not know this, but the world’s tallest man-made structure is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Looking at it as a whole, you see this giant, sleek, 2,722 foot building – a mass of concrete, glass, and steel. Seldom would someone look at the building and wonder how it was constructed or what intricate equations and planning had to go into its creation.

That’s how it is with trust: Usually we look at trust from a whole perspective, and we don’t recognize that trust is actually built action by action, bit by bit. Over time, we learn to trust actions when we see someone’s character in motion. It is from this that the building blocks of trust are developed.

Two of my favourite virtues that God inspires are faith and trust. You might think that the two are similar, but here’s how they differ. Faith is, by definition, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, KJV) We base our faith on something that’s beyond our own logic (at least in the beginning). We base our trust on something we do know, that’s proven by character over time. So when God commands me to trust in Him, I should be able to do this without doubt or question, right?

Great concept, although trusting in someone or something is often easier said than done. Trust is a foundational element to any successful relationship (whether with man or God). If you have trust, you have one of the most important ingredients to claiming your joy and living your life to its fullest potential.

Here are three things that I know for sure about trust:

  1. Trust helps us grow. You know what they say about the man who’s driven by the waves and tossed about? Or the man who builds his house on the sand? When we put our trust in the right place – our Lord, – we’re opening the door for Him to work in our lives for His greater good. Jeremiah 17: 7-8 (KJV) says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green: and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
  2. Trust helps us strengthen relationships. It’s often said that you can’t have successful relationships if you don’t have trust. And how do we build trust? Action by action, day by day. When we open our hearts and let others prove their character, we develop trust, and trust builds healthier, stronger relationships. Proverbs 31 (KJV) says of the virtuous woman that, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” Trust is a two-way street: It is earned, and it is an effort.
  3. Trust helps us move forward. A favourite Bible verse of many, Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) tells us that we should “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” When we have a solid foundation for each decision we make in life, we enable ourselves to move forward along the right path with confidence.

I know that I can put my trust in God, Who’s never disappointed me, and Who’s always proved that He’s had a plan in mind for me that exceeds my wildest expectations. If you’re having trouble trusting, start with the basics. God won’t let us down, and when we have a firm foundation for our faith, our confidence will grow and our hearts will be more open to trust. Isaiah 49:23b (NCV) promises, “Then you will know I am the LORD. Anyone who trusts in me will not be disappointed.”

Originally published as “3 Facts About Trust”. Minto Express. September 9, 2015: 5. Print.