Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

God’s faithfulness Archive

Wednesday

6

May 2020

Pride

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"Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off." (Psalm 138:6) | Read more about pride at hopereflected.com

Beware the great destroyer

One of the ways that pride destroys our lives is by pulling us away from the Lord. When we get puffed up with self-empowerment, we push God away. Have you ever noticed that during those times when you’re always right and up on your soapbox, you can’t hear God? David wrote in Psalm 138:6, “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.” Whenever it feels like God can’t hear us, or as though He’s being distant, we should question, is it Him, or is it me? We may be surprised at the answer, after all God knows the proud from afar but “he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” (Psalm 9:12)

“Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.”

Psalm 138:6

If we are growing in relationship with God, then we are dying to self so that we can live for Him. If God comes first in our lives, that doesn’t leave any room for pride. “I have set the LORD always before me:” David wrote in Psalm 16:8, “because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” David didn’t set himself first, he put the Lord first. When we put the Lord first, He is our confidence! That we no longer need to be self-reliant should be such a relief to us.

At the root of the struggle

Beware the great destroyer. For many, pride is holding them back; it is at the root of their struggle to accept Christ as Saviour. To experience true salvation, we have to admit things that pride – read, sin – doesn’t want us to confess. Who wants to be honest and confess that they’re a sinner? No takers? Who wants to admit that they need help? Who wants to get down on their knees and acknowledge that nothing that they do is going to get them into Heaven? Pride, – one of Satan’s weapons of choice, the great destroyer, – doesn’t want any of us to do that.

We can’t earn our salvation

Pride is that false confidence that convinces us that we can earn our salvation. “I go to church,” “I take communion,” “I do good things,” “I’m kind to others,” “I give money,” “I volunteer,” – “I” is at the very centre of sin and pride, quite literally. No amount of money or good deeds is going to get us into Heaven. Nothing but confessing our sin and acknowledging Christ as our Saviour can open that door. Is pride holding you back?

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

1 Corinthians 10:12

Another way pride destroys our lives is by puffing us up only to shamefully deflate us. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) We know that God hates it, and yet so often we allow pride to make fools out of us. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,” (Proverbs 12:15). C.S. Lewis called pride “the chief of all misery… Without pride there is no offense. Pride is what made the devil the devil.” We should not give place to pride, as Lewis said, “For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

You can read more about pride here.

Originally published as “Pride” Independent Plus. February 21, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

30

March 2020

When things don’t turn out as we planned

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"Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in 1765 about the best laid schemes of mice and men in his poem, “To a Mouse”. In the poem, written after Burns accidentally turned up a mouse’s nest with his plough, Burns considers the mouse more fortunate than he, because “The present only toucheth thee,”. Being human, Burns could not only see his present, he could look back and see his past, and though he couldn’t see the future, he could fret and worry about it.

God has a plan

It seems that not much has changed in the last two hundred and fifty-five years. So often, we spend our time fretting and worrying about the future that we miss out on what God has for us in the present. That’s not to say that planning ahead is a bad thing; on the contrary, the Bible tells us that planning for the future is wise (Proverbs 21:5). The key is, that rather than spend our time worrying, or getting discouraged when things don’t turn out as we planned, we should make a determined effort to direct our focus to God.

David wrote in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Regardless of his circumstances or the events happening around him, David purposed to set the Lord always before him. Before we make decisions, we should pray; as Anne Graham Lotz puts it, it is always to our benefit to be “pre-prayered” for whatever we face in life.

His plan is bigger than ours

We should also remember that even though we may plan things down to the tiniest detail, sometimes God has a different plan, and His plans are always the best for us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) We may not understand why He allows heartache and woes; but when we trust Him, we can understand that God always has a plan, and He always has His best for us in mind. “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Where is your faith?” Jesus asked the disciples this in Luke 8:25 after He saved them from a storm on the water. When the wind and waters rage, who do we trust, and where do we turn? We should trust God, and turn our eyes to Him. When things don’t turn out as we planned, we can still rest in Him. “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)

He is the first and the last, He knows our past, present, and He holds the future. He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Originally published as “When things don’t turn out how we plan.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. January 9, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

26

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.

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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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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

2

December 2016

Hope Reflected: Dealing with Disappointment

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hope reflected dealing with disappointment

There will be some days when it rains (and sometimes it happens both literally and figuratively!). There will be some days when you’ll forget that you left the oven on and you’ll burn what could have been a delicious dinner. There will some days when people you thought couldn’t let you down actually drop you or throw you under the bus. There will be some days when it seems like nothing is going right and everything is going wrong. Let’s face it – there will always be some days.

Dealing with disappointment is a reality of life. Though some disappointments will be more harsh than others, throughout our lives, we’ll all deal with several doses of the displeasure of disappointment. And that’s not a bad thing – you wouldn’t be human if once in a while you didn’t experience disappointment.

My college pastor used to say that the key to getting over disappointment is not letting it hold you down. You can become bitter, or you can become better. Rather than dealing with your disappointment, you can let it consume you, zap your energy, and capture your thoughts. None of those are good things. We’re always better dealing with disappointment head on. Sometimes – OK, most times – that’s way easier to say than it is to live!

Before you think I’m getting all down on you, I’m writing this so you know that you’re not alone if experience a day – or two, or three, or hey, maybe even an entire week, – of disappointment. Life happens to all of us! The key is in how we handle it.

The Bible talks a lot about dealing with disappointment, and today I’d like to share four verses with you, to encourage you through whatever you may be dealing with as you read this.

Psalm 42:11 “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Matthew Henry once said, “The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of our mercies.” Amen! I’d venture to say that David, who wrote Psalm 42, arguably experienced more disappointment throughout his adulthood than most of us will experience in a lifetime. He still chose, however, to put his hope in God.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We can rest assured that our Lord wants to give us a future and a hope, when we trust in Him. In his commentary about this verse, Matthew Poole says that our deliverance “will not depend upon your merits, but upon my [God’s] own mercy and kind thoughts and purposes.”

Romans 8:28 “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.” Again, if you think you’ve experienced disappointment, do some research into the life of Paul. Throughout his life, Paul faced many disappointments, and yet he still had an incredible faith in God. Note that Romans 8:28 says “all things work together for good”. ALL things. Not just some things. Not just good things. ALL things. That includes disappointments.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Paul, who wrote the letter to the Philippians, once again provides sound advice. Even in disappointment, we shouldn’t get anxious. We should in every thing – not just some things or good things or happy things – be praying and be thankful! That can be quite the challenge, because often when I’m disappointed the last thing I feel like doing is praying, let alone being thankful. But, we’re encouraged to just that. We’re also promised the peace of God when we do.

Like Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14, “this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” If you’ve experienced some disappointment the past week, you’re not alone. Choose to get better not to get bitter, and you’ll find dealing with disappointment is actually an opportunity to grow.

Originally published as “Dealing with Disappointment.” Minto Express, Arthur Enterprise-News, Independent Plus. September 28, 2016: 5. Print.

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Friday

18

November 2016

Hope Reflected: Choose Faith Over Fear

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faith

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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