Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

God Archive



March 2020

The God of hope

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“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)  | Read more at hopereflected.com

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)

“Now the God of hope fill you”

Not you and I, not anything we do, no amount of self-care or service – true fulfillment is found only in God. Fulfillment comes from God. He is not just a god, but rather the God of hope! Not despair, not hopelessness, not fear, not anxiety – God is a God of hope, and He wants to fill us with joy and peace. Our search for true fulfillment should start with Him.

“with all joy and peace”

Not just a little joy and peace, not just some joy and peace – God longs to fill us with ALL joy and peace. We wonder how that’s possible, but when we consider that He is the God of hope, and that true fulfillment comes from Him, we can begin to understand that He is the giver of all joy and peace. Oh how we look for fulfillment by pursuing puny earthly pleasures when we should be looking to the One from whom joy, peace, and all other gifts originate.

“in believing”

In order for our joy to be full, there is a requirement of us – we must believe! It’s important to note here that believing is very much a verb; believing is a continuous action, not a one-time choice. If we want real joy, we must exercise authentic faith.

“that ye may abound in hope”

Why does the God of hope want to fill us with all joy and peace in believing? So that we may abound in hope! As a result of being filled with true joy and peace from the God of hope, we will abound in hope. Not just a little bit, not merely a glimmer – God wants us to abound in hope. By definition, that means large numbers, great quantities, copiously supplied! As if being filled with true joy and peace weren’t enough, God also promises that we will abound in hope.

“through the power of the Holy Ghost”

Lest we get conceited and think we can bring ourselves any lasting joy, peace, or abounding hope, we need to remember through Whom we receive these gifts: They come through the power of the Holy Ghost. Having a personal relationship with Christ means that we are filled with His Spirit. Our finite minds can’t fathom how truly amazing that is. It’s because of Him that true joy and peace are possible!

Consider what Alexander Maclaren shared about this verse in his Expositions of Holy Scripture: “There are two limits to God’s gifts to men: the one is the limitless limit of God’s infinitude, the other is the working limit – our capacity – and that capacity is precisely measured, as the capacity of some built-in vessel might be measured by a little gauge on the outside, by our faith.” We serve a generous and gracious God.

Originally published as “The God of hope” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. October 24, 2019: 6. Print. Web.



June 2017

Hope Reflected | What’s your focus?

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"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." Isaiah 26:3 Hope Reflected | Focus on God

What’s your focus?

At some point in each of our lives, we will visit a buffet-style restaurant. A test of will power and self-control, you may have experienced the sensation of having eyes bigger than your stomach, and over-filling your plate. You think you’re going to eat all this food in front of you, and then you hit a wall. Or, as it often happens when you eat too much, you actually start to not feel so great because you’ve over-indulged. You focus so much on the food in front of you that you forget to listen to your stomach.

Isn’t that so much like life? We think that after pursuing all of our dreams and wants we’ll be so much happier, so much more satisfied. “When I buy my dream car,” “When I complete my degree,” “When I get that promotion,” “When we buy that house,” “When we get married,” and the list goes on. The truth is, if you’re living in the mindset that achieving dreams and goals will make you a happier person, you’re setting yourself up for severe disappointment.

Please don’t misunderstand; having dreams and pursuing goals are both good and honourable – they’re part of a healthy mentality – however when you start thinking that you’ll be happier once you achieve your dreams and conquer your goals, that’s when you set yourself up for disappointment.

True contentment can only be found when you put your focus on God. Some people learn this early; some people learn it later; some people never learn. It is true however, what is written in Proverbs 15:16-17 “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.” You can be content with very little when you turn away from distractions and learn to focus on God.

When your focus is on God, He will bring you true joy and contentment. Not just for the good times, but for every season. Lest you think the temporary high of achieving earthly goals will sustain you, there are countless blessings when you choose to put your focus on the Lord. Focusing on the Lord will:

  • Provide peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
  • Relieve worry. “He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112:7) We all worry. But has worrying ever done you any good? Only God can provide the reassurance each of us longs for. As Max Lucado says, “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.” God will help you break free of your worries. He even calls us to lay it all on Him! “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Breed contentment. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8) We’ve all heard the saying, “Once you need less, you will have more.” God doesn’t call us to compare ourselves to others, to accumulate more material possessions, or to build our financial portfolios. He calls us to be responsible, He calls us to follow Him, and it’s only when we put our focus on Him that we shift our gaze from temporary earthly successes to what will truly count for eternity.
  • Inspire compassion. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) The Golden Rule is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When we put our focus on the Lord, we learn to look at the well-being of others rather than just ourselves. Compassion begins within, and it has a ripple effect.
  • Mold character. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) There are many notes on the developing of a man’s character. What’s undisputed is that character certainly starts within. When your focus is on the Lord, your character will show it. As John Wooden once said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what other think you are.”
  • Change your heart. “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole hearts.” (Jeremiah 24:7) One of my favourite Bible verses is Proverbs 21:1, which says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” When your focus is heavenward, your life will show it. Luke 6:45 tells us that “from the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.” Only the Lord can change a heart, and when your focus is on Him, He will steer you in the right direction.

Originally published as “What’s your focus?” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. June 1, 2017: 7. Print. Web.



February 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Faith

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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




January 2017

Encouragement | Psalm 147:3 | God Heals the Brokenhearted

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“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

The Psalmist David throughout his life, likely experienced more heartache and emotional wounds than we will ever know. When I’m looking for encouragement, the book of Psalms is one of the first places I head in the Bible. Filled with examples of God’s promises and how God heals the brokenhearted,—from Moses and David to Asaph and Solomon,—the book of Psalms is filled with chapter upon chapter of examples that demonstrate God’s care and grace toward us.

One truth that is particularly evident? God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3) Whether you’re looking at the life of David, Moses, Asaph, or Solomon; in each man’s life, we see examples of how God healed broken hearts and bound up wounds.

Whatever you are seeking, rest assured that God is the only One Who can heal the brokenhearted and bind up your wounds.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3



August 2016

Monday Encouragement: Isaiah 41:10

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Isaiah 41:10

“Fear 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

Isaiah 41:10 is a great example of the encouragement found within the book of Isaiah. The book of Isaiah is filled with so many countless encouraging verses, which all reflect on the power and love and providence of our Lord God.

In verse 10, there are several layers and parts that stand out to me, and that provide reassurance, hope, strength, and peace:

“Fear not, for I am with you”: God is always with us. He is with you, day and night, no matter what you’re going through. That’s a promise! I love in the first part of verse 10 how we are commanded to “Fear not,” because God is with us. What a promise! What an encouragement! We have no reason to fear, because God is with us.

“Be not dismayed, for I am your God”: Dismay is another word for distress, usually instigated by something unexpected. In Isaiah 41:10, we are encouraged to be not dismayed. Why? “for I am your God”. We serve the Living Christ, Who conquered death for us, so there is no reason to be dismayed. This is something I need to constantly remind myself of, especially when life throws curve balls my way.

“I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you”: God promises to provide us with strength, and with help. When you’re feeling like you can’t go on or you just don’t know how you’re going to get through the day, God will be right with you to provide you with the strength and help you need, to get through whatever you’re facing.

“I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”: God promises to uphold us. More than that, He promises to uphold us with His righteous right hand. That means, when you lose your footing, He’s going to be there to hold you up, if you’ll trust in Him. What I love about this verse, is that we are told God will uphold us with His righteous right hand. Righteous: Pure, virtuous, upstanding, ethical, honest. Regardless of your circumstances, God is righteous. And He will uphold you with His right hand. His right hand! Throughout scripture, God’s right hand is mentioned several times. Historically, to be put on someone’s right hand is to be held in equal honour. God’s right hand also symbolizes His power and His greatness.

Whatever you’re facing this week, remember Isaiah 41:10 and claim it for yourself!

“Fear 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




July 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: God Will Help You Find a Way

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God will help you

“God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Brad Wilcox

How many times have we read in Exodus how God parted the Red Sea for Moses, allowing the Israelites to walk on dry ground and cross to safety while being pursued by their enemies? We’ve heard the event shared time after time after time; this is classic Sunday School lesson material.

Exodus 14:21-22 (KJV) tells us, “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.”

Notice anything interesting about this selection of scripture? It wasn’t until I came across author Brad Wilcox’s awesome quote that the truth struck me: God divided the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites so they could cross to safety.

“God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Brad Wilcox


Sometimes we can hear a truth over and over again, but until it’s explained in the simplest of terms, we don’t necessarily understand the breadth of it.

God’s not necessarily going to remove our problems, but He has promised to help us through whatever challenges we’re facing.

David testified in Psalm 23:4, “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 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Isaiah 41:10 instructs us, “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.”

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus promises us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

God is with us, always, if we trust in Him. God is our refuge, and our strength. God will give you the strength to get through whatever challenge or problem you are facing, if you will trust in Him. God is the one who will provide us with rest. Seek Him, learn about Him, trust Him.

We don’t need to fear problems or eliminate them when we have the choice to face them with God on our side.

“God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Brad Wilcox

Trust God, and let Him help you today!



June 2016

Hope Reflected: It Is What’s On The Inside That Counts

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it is what's on the inside that counts 1 Samuel 16:7b

It is what’s on the inside that counts.

Recently, Wes and I have been spending several hours each week out in the yard; I’ve been working in the garden, and he’s been tending to the lawn (where we have a serious thing with dandelions – anyone have suggestions for how we can eradicate them?). We’ve been spending a record amount of time outdoors this season, weeding our garden faithfully and working on other outdoor living projects. Regardless of the day, I am always struck by the amount of weeds that pop up overnight in our garden, and how when I pull them, although the top part of the weed is small, the roots are huge and deeply settled in the soil.

When I was first started pulling the weeds, I thought to myself, “They’ll come out easily enough,” only to be surprised with how deep-rooted they were. How often do we look at things on the surface and think we know what lies on the inside, only to delve deeper and be surprised when things are completely different than we expected? It’s kind of like looking at an iceberg. What we see above water is only about 10% of the total iceberg; the other 90%, the greater mass, lies beneath the waters.

How often do we, as human beings, just look at the surface, when so often there is so much deeper-rooted beneath in the spirit!

1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV) says, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

Take King David, for instance. The Lord looked on David with favour, while in his early days mere mortals thought of David as the least regarded and good only for tending sheep (rather than defending a nation). If we as humans got it wrong then, who’s to say we don’t often get it wrong now?

How often do we see a homeless person, or encounter someone with less than we’ve been blessed with, and pass judgment? How often do we look on our circumstances and feel bad, comparing ourselves to others, when really we know nothing of what’s really going on in their lives? When we take time to look past the surface, we’ll learn not to judge a book by it’s cover, and that it is what’s on the inside that counts:

  1. Be interested. Philippians 2:4 (KJV) says that we should, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Instead of looking in, take time to look out. Be sincerely interested in those around you. When you’re interested in others, others take interest in you. This is a great way to build true friendships and also to get to know those around you.
  2. Don’t judge. Matthew 7:1-2 (KJV) says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Quite often, we look on the appearance of others and form our decision from just what we can see. The beauty of it is, that God looks so much deeper than just looks. He looks into our heart.
  3. Search your heart. In Psalm 139: 1-3 (KJV), David asks the Lord to search his heart: “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” Ask the Lord to search your heart. While we should all spend more time looking out and up rather than in, a little bit of self-analysis and prayerful consideration can go a long way. What are our motives? What do we truly feel? What is our real condition?

I’ll close with this quote, which is a good reminder, from Proverbs 11:27 (KJV): “He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief it shall come unto him.” Choose to be one who looks past the surface; don’t judge a book by its cover.


Originally published as “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover.” Minto Express. June 1, 2016: 6. Print.